Shimla: To support Himachal’s inclusive and sustainable green growth agenda, the state government has signed a tripartite loan agreement for US $ 100 million with World Bank and union government at Delhi today.
The loan would be used to help Himachal in adapting and mitigating effects of climate change, bring in better policies and practices to guide development of sustainable hydro-power, empower local communities to conserve watersheds, promote cleaner methods of industrial production and promote environmentally sustainable tourism, a government communiqué stated after singing of the agreement.
Chief secretary Sudripta Roy on behalf of Himachal government, Prabodh Saxena, joint secretary ministry of finance, union government and Roland Lomme, governance advisor World Bank were signatories to the agreement.
With the state having started a community led conservation program for watersheds, the World Bank financed loan would be used to pilot this approach in at least one panchayat in each of the 77 development blocks of the state.
The watershed management practices are expected to result in higher soil conservation, improved habitats for bio-diversity, improved forest cover and reduced sedimentation.
Another component of the loan would be used to support states hydropower development program that incorporate environmentally and socially sustainable policies.
An river basin approach in assessment and management of environmental risks associated with large scale hydropower development would be adopted that would include conducting an cumulative impact assessment for all key river basin, reviewing and monitoring release of environmental flows and drawing up basin level catchment area treatment plans.
Since communities living near hydropower project are often impacted and the state government has launched a revenue sharing scheme so as to ensure that project affected villages get a share in the benefits from such development projects, a component of the World Bank loan would focus on seeking incentive based economic policies to reduce industrial emissions and promote sustainable tourism practices.