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Need of visionary leadership for green, sustainable India

“Green education and green jobs will be an important agenda of the green manifesto designed by our political leaders for the green and sustainable tomorrow,” writes Mala Singh, Member-Green Building Committee, Forest & Environment Department, Govt. of Gujarat
“The empires of the future are empires of the mind”. This quote by Winston Churchill clearly underlines the fact that great cities/ countries are in fact built upon the visions of great leaders. History has shown us various examples of great leaders who have included people in their vision and resulted in prosperous, thriving regions. One such example is the vibrant state of Gujarat which has thrived in all aspects under the strong leadership of its Chief Minister, Narendra Modi.  Also known as the jewel of the West, the state of Gujarat has been making its mark in Indian urbanisation and development for the past two decades. Whether it is in the field of industrialisation, education, utility management, healthcare or security, Gujarat has proved its prowess in all. In 13 years of Narendra Modi’s leadership, Gujarat has been listed as one of the few accepted model provinces in the globalised world. But what makes this state quite unique is the huge importance given to environment. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has made it the state’s prime agenda to be actively involved in environmental preservation and management for which various green initiatives have been undertaken.
One of the main problems created due to large scale industrialisation and pollution is climate change. To tackle it, Gujarat established a separate department for Climate change (first one in Asia), thus starting off a trend not only in India, but in Asia as well. Water being a resource of critical importance in Gujarat, a state-wide mission was taken up to handle water related problems. As a part of the Government initiative taken, state-wide drinking water grids, micro harvesting structures etc. were set up.This helped to alleviate Gujarat’s water woes to a great extent. Gujarat Government under Modi’s leadership has also taken up measures to encourage energy generation using renewable sources. Gujarat being characterised with hot and dry climate most of the year, has a huge potential for tapping solar energy and reduce dependence on non-renewable resources. Working along the same lines, Gujarat government set up a 600 MW solar park at Charanka near Patan. It is a matter of great pride for India that this park, situated on approximately 2669 acres of wasteland is the largest of its kind in Asia which accounts for about 66 per cent of India’s solar power. This solar park also has wind mills installed to generate over100 MW of wind power, thus making it the biggest solar-wind hybrid park in the world. To create overall decrement in the carbon footprint, biodiesel based commercial bus services were introduced which is the first of its kind in India.Narendra Modi led government has also undertaken a ‘social forestry programme’ which helps to improve overall green cover of the state. In the process, mangrove cover has been increased upto 936 kms and noticeable areas of wastelands have got converted to green areas.
The Government of Gujarat has also been a frontrunner in promoting the concept of green buildings. Almost all of the new Government buildings are now green rated buildings with importance being given to effective resource utilisation and related efficiencies. One such example is the new head office for the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) which is a self-sufficient green and solar building. The established Solar photo voltaic cell system (SPVS) is to cater for the entire building’s energy requirements as well as provide excess power (if produced) to meet other building’s energy needs.  Also the building’s water requirements are being catered via water management measures like rain water harvesting, use of recharge wells etc. thus reducing the overall water demand upon the municipal water supply.
Taking the concept of green buildings one step further, the Gujarat government has undertaken the new Raksha Shakti University (RSU) project under the GRIHA LD rating and the whole master planning has been done as per defined norms under GRIHA LD to promote sustainable development at macro level in the state of Gujarat. This dream project of Gujarat is first of its genre which provides courses in police service and internal security. According to VasthuShilpa consultants, RSU project will be an inspirational benchmark to promote Indian traditional and heritage architecture. PEC Solutions Green Designs Pvt Ltd – The Green Advocacy Groupis on board advisor to guide Green and sustainability norms for this project.The entire project has been designed with minimum building footprint and retention of natural topographic areas. According to Me,  this entire project is being designed through a holistic approach and specific measures and efforts will be undertaken to recharge aquifers, reduce soil erosion, and develop green belt which will help to achieve no: 4 mission of Climate Change of the Nation. To reduce embodied energy and material wastage, eco-friendly materials and strategies have been incorporated in the project. Any good planning can give best results, if implemented on ground intelligently. To achieve this target, RSU management has appointed a team of well experienced project management consultancy and contractors team consisting of civil, safety and environmental engineers which will help in effective implementation and monitoring throughout the project life cycle. To establish a green milestone for this project, RSU management has decided to educate their contractors and site team in the beginning itself for better understanding of green and environment conservation measures.
We need visionary leaders to promote green and sustainable development in our country. Presently the future of environment and green professionals does not seem so good which it should be keeping in mind the present scenario to promote sustainable development. I hope green education and green jobs will be an important agenda of the green manifesto designed by our political leaders for the green and sustainable tomorrow.


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