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Sunday, October 10, 2010

State -level hearing on Climate Change - organised in Jaipur

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A state-level public hearing for farmers, livestock owners and small agro-producers belonging to different agro-climatic zones was organized in Jaipur on October 9, 2010.The centre for community Economics and Development Consultants’ Society organized this day long Public Hearing in the run –up to the climate summit to be held at Cancun in Mexico.

 The farmers from different agro-climatic zones expressed concern that “they would be the worst sufferers of global warming which is manifesting itself through different unusual trends such as erratic rainfall, shrinking forest cover, rising temperature and increasing food security. 

The stake holders reportedly expressed serious concerns about the dwindling scope for earning livelihood in agriculture and animal husbandry. It is important to note that agriculture and animal husbandry has traditionally been the mainstay of rural economy. In other areas of the country too, farmers have been selling their cattle due to scarcity of fodder and are migrating towards cities, far away from drying fields and unproductive agriculture. Cattle have been reportedly dying in fields in Jharkhand’s Palamu area as already reported here.

 Farmers in many parts of Jharkhand including Gumla, Saraikela Ranchi and Palamu have been reported selling their cattle to butchers on throw away prices. Herds of cows, buffalos and calves can be seen moving along roads towards the final destination. On the other hand groups of men , boys and girls can be seen on interstate bus stations and railway junctions ready to be carried to far off places, far away from their fields through agents to work there as labourers. Agriculture and animal husbandry have become too bankrupt to feed their dependents in many areas due to human and climate related reasons. Most of the miseries have been caused by climate change and some out of these by government policies.

Image: marching towards final destination

It has been reported that the event was organized to draw the attention of policy makers to the plight of farmers and peasants at the grass roots affected by global warming. In this event about 150 representatives from different parts of Rajasthan took part in the  public hearing conducted  in the regular court style. Some of the participants in the event were – representatives of NABARD, State Livelihood Mission, researchers, experts, officers from the state government’s agriculture, water, and animal husbandry department. The participants in the event called for evolving a climate protection strategy in Cancun on the basis of experiences at the grassroots. It is important to note that the Centre for Community Economics which was accredited to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had attended the climate summit in Copenhagen last year and also plans to take part in the current year’s mega event in the Cancun also.

The testimonies of representatives were heard by a five member jury of experts from different fields. A verdict was also delivered after the public hearing. Former judge of the Rajasthan High Court Panachand Jain, M.S.Rathore the water expert,L.C. Gupta I.A.S., Suny Sebestian of The Hindu and Anita Brandon of Indira Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sansthan constituted the jury – reports The Hindu.

The jury came to the conclusion that the changes in weather, lengthening of summer season and the decreasing livestock were some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change. Harmful human activities in industrial and economic domains were observed as primary reasons behind the drastic changes in the weather pattern. A sharp decline in the ground water level has severely stressed the farming system. The organizing body of the event is reported to present the findings of the hearing before policy makers so as to enable them devise action plans in the field concerned.

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