• The uncontrolled burning of crop residues, the dangerously falling water table and the lack of solid waste management facilities in the region are a cause for serious environmental concern to the population and the tardy pace of government action in this regard does not inspire much confidence. In this regard an environmental alliance involving NGOs, pollution control boards, state governments, and other stakeholders, including private and public sector undertakings, was announced in Chandigarh on Saturday by former National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman and Supreme Court Judge Swatanter Kumar. The alliance, Global Platform for Environment (GPE), of which Justice Swatanter Kumar is the National convenor, will work to generate awareness and a mass movement right from the village level in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and UT Chandigarh.

As a first step towards the launch of a nationwide movement to address these and many other environmental issues head on, GPE is organising a first of its kind one day Regional Conference on Environment at Panjab University on Sunday to coincide with World Earth Day, It will witness participation by international representatives of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) besides several NGOs, pollution control boards, state governments and other stakeholders. “We have in our alliance 19 stakeholders,” Justice Swatanter Kumar said, adding that “we believe that the environment is the common inheritance of us all and the action to protect and conserve it for posterity has to be collective too.”

Photo By : Life In Chandigarh

On behalf of Serving in Organisations for Legal Initiatives (SIOLI), which will be directly overseeing and executing the various environmental awareness initiatives in the target states, Reeta Kohli, Senior Advocate, informed that apart from the inaugural and valedictory sessions, the conference, to be inaugurated by Haryana Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki, will have three technical sessions, one each on the three fundamental subjects of the conference.

Among the star speakers will be Gram Vikas Navyuvak Mandal Convenor Laxman Singh Laporiya, environmentalist Sudhendra Sharma,  Alwar’s famous water man Rajendra Singh, Sumant Pandey from Yashwant Rao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YADA), Wing Commander Rommel Luke from Smart Education and Welfare Association (SEWA), Dr. Krishna Rao, Director Niper, and Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation. There will also be a motivational address by Dr. S.V. Subba Rao.

A galaxy of dignitaries participating in the conference include Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Hemant Gupta, Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar, Himachal Pradesh High Court Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Panjab University Vice Chancellor Prof. Arun Kumar Grover, Dr. T.P. Singh, Deputy Regional Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangkok, NGT Acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim, Airports Authority of India Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra and Central Pollution Control Board Chairman SPS Parihar.

Accompanying Justice Swatanter Kumar and Reeta Kohli at the press conference on Saturday were Neelima Kamrah, Registrar, KIIT Group of Colleges who is actively involved with super cop Kiran Bedi’s NGO Navjyoti, and Sunita Sibal, social activist and a trustee of SIOLI.

On a jarring note, the biggest environmentalist of the region Baba Seechewal will be conspicuous by his absence at the conference.

Lifeinchadigarh.com hopes that the conference will come out with a well thought out and workable action plan for the region and that Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal will be actively involved in its implementation.

Conference starts 10 a.m. on Sunday and the venues are Law Auditorium and English Auditorium 1 & 2, Panjab University campus.

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