‘Chandigarh is among a few cities that not only managed to save its forest and green cover but also increased it’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/chandigarh-is-among-a-few-cities-that-not-only-managed-to-save-its-forest-and-green-cover-but-also-increased-it-5496863/

‘Chandigarh is among a few cities that not only managed to save its forest and green cover but also increased it’

Debandra Dalai, IFS Chief Conservator of Forests and Director Science, Technology and Renewable Energy, who represented Chandigarh at the recently concluded Conference of Parties (COP) 24 tells The Indian Express about his presentation.

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Debandra Dalai. (Express photo by Saurabh Prashar)

Union Territory was selected by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), to make presentations at the recently concluded Conference of Parties (COP) 24 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held from December 2 to 14 at Katowice in Poland. Debandra Dalai, IFS Chief Conservator of Forests and Director Science, Technology and Renewable Energy, who represented Chandigarh tells The Indian Express about his presentation.

Why was Chandigarh selected for COP 24?

The selection was made on the basis of performance of states and UTs in the field of environment, climate change, solar energy and water preservation. Chandigarh is among a few cities that not only managed to save its forest and green cover areas but also simultaneously increased these areas. Our work in the field of solar and renewable energy has already been acknowledged throughout the nation. It is the third Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC at which Chandigarh has been given the privilege to make a presentation on the world forum. I made my presentation on December 6. Chandigarh had also made a representation in COP23 in 2017 and COP22 in 2016.

What was the subject of your presentation at Katowice?

Climate Smart Cities Initiatives in India was the subject given to me by MoEF&CC for making a presentation this time. Everybody knows Chandigarh is on the smart city track. I had to explain the steps taken by us in the field of reducing the ciy’s carbon footprint through various methods. In 2016, the subject of presentation was Implementation of State Action Plan in view of Climate Change. In 2017, the subject was Model Solar City. Earlier, the presentations were made by my predecessor Santosh Kumar. There were different panels from Indian side. I was not the part of panel that participated in the discussion on the Paris Agreement at Kotawice in Poland.

What did you say about Chandigarh?

My presentation was divided in three parts. These included Green Cover, Solar Energy and Solid Waste Management. The focus of my presentation was how Chandigarh managed to protect and increase its green cover at the same time when vehicle population and human population is increasing each passing year. Chandigarh has registered 39 per cent growth in its green cover including the forest area and non-forest area at the same time when vehicular population also increased drastically in the last two decades. On Solar Energy, we are the leading city of India, which has managed to install maximum solar plants on the rooftop of government and private buildings. The participants appreciated our policy decision, in which we made installation of solar plants necessary for any house spread in 500sq yard area. E-governance, which will definitely reduce vehicles on roads, and Intelligent Traffic Management Systems (ITMS) were also important components of the presentation.

What impressed you at COP 24?

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The presentations made by the representatives of Japan were very impressive. The main objective of their presentations was Smart Transport and Green Energy. And the main thing about them: All the members of their respective panel were in their 30s. It shows that the country is involving young people in this field. Apart from Japan, presentations made by Indonesia were also appreciated in various aspects, especially in the field of agriculture. The focus of every presentation was to reduce the carbon footprint, be it through smart transport, through using the solar energy and using Intelligent Traffic Management System.

What was the focus of other presentations made by your counterparts from other countries?

The focus of every presentation was to highlight the methods adopted by them to reduce the carbon footprints in their respective countries. A country like Japan is making efforts to reduce the carbon footprint through Smart Transport and Green Energy. Indonesia is working in the agriculture sector.