Even as a changing climate impacts various sectors in Kashmir such as agriculture and animal husbandry, the state government has failed to implement its climate action plan despite ample funds

No work has been done of Jammu and Kashmir’s sustainable agriculture mission (Photo by Athar Parvaiz)

No work has been done of Jammu and Kashmir’s sustainable agriculture mission (Photo by Athar Parvaiz)

Although the central government has endorsed Jammu & Kashmir government’s State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) for INR 67.39 billion (USD 1 billion) way back in in 2014 and made funds available through the federal environment ministry, the state government is yet to carry out any work in this regard.

Different departments of the state, which come under 11 different missions of SAPCC, have not been able to even prepare project concept notes for undertaking projects under climate change adaptation and mitigation. The SAPCC consists of 11 missions, which includes three state-specific missions on tourism, health and disaster management. The other eight missions have been adopted from the National Action Plan on Climate Change and include Enhanced Energy Mission; Energy Mission; Mission on Sustainable Habitat; Green India Mission; Water Mission; Sustainable Agriculture Mission; Sustainable Himalayan Mission and Strategic Knowledge Mission.

So far, only one project proposal has come from the state’s agriculture department under the Sustainable Agriculture Mission — Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture in Rain-Fed Farming Areas of Jammu and Kashmir — which has been approved in 2015 and the initial funding has also been released last year, but is yet to be utilised.

“We are asking them (departments) and have also written to them several times to make concept notes about projects under climate change. But they are not coming forward with project concept notes. For example, we have written to health and tourism departments many times, but we are yet to get any substantial response from them,” Mutaharra Deva, nodal officer at Jammu & Kashmir government’s Climate Change Cell (CCC), told indiaclimatedialogue.net.

A lot of funds are available for climate change related projects under the federal environment ministry, but the concerned departments are not coming forward with concept notes for the projects. In 2014, the Jammu & Kashmir government prepared the SAPCC, which was endorsed by the government of India with an estimated funding of INR 67.39 billion.

Under the SAPCC, the state government has established CCC with a nodal officer who coordinates between different departments coming under the 11 missions on climate change. “Since implantation of SAPCC involves cross-sectorial engagement, we at the climate change cell are supposed to coordinate with the departments such as agriculture, health, tourism, etc., to take project concept notes (and detailed project reports) to the chief secretary’s office. They are then supposed to go to expert committees and the governing council headed by the chief minister,” Deva said.

But, she said that only one project concept note detailed project report has been prepared so far by the agriculture department, which has got approved as well with a funding of INR 225 million (USD 3.38 million) from the central environment ministry.

Mohammad Yousuf, a farmer of Kelam-Kulgam, was among thousands of farmers who lost their agricultural land during the 2014 floods (Photo by Athar Parvaiz)

Mohammad Yousuf, a farmer of Kelam-Kulgam, was among thousands of farmers who lost their agricultural land during the 2014 floods (Photo by Athar Parvaiz)

“However, no work has been done so far despite the fact that initial funding of the project (INR 27.7 million) was released in June 2016,” she told indiaclimatedialogue.net. A top official in the Jammu & Kashmir government said that Jammu & Kashmir is unable to utilise the huge availability of funds under climate change adaptation “because of a tussle” going on between bureaucrats within the state. “For example, top officials of the agriculture department are not happy that they are getting the funds through the state’s forest department, which hosts the climate change cell,” he said on condition of anonymity.

The chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, B.B. Vyas, has expressed serious concern over the non-utilisation of available funds, according to an official document accessed by indiaclimatedialogue.net. “[He] instructed the Agriculture Production Department to implement the Project on priority. He also asked the Department to keep the Jammu & Kashmir Climate Change Cell (JKCCC) in loop as required in terms of the tenants of the scheme,” the document says.

Reducing agricultural vulnerability

The broad objective of the project is to reduce agricultural vulnerability of farmers in water-stressed, rain-shadow zones of Jammu & Kashmir through promotion of appropriate cropping system, rainwater harvesting and recycling, appropriate irrigation, water saving facilities, integrated farming system and building soil resilience.

As per the project, water conservation infrastructure has to be created for moisture stress areas whereas drainages shall be created for low-lying areas to increase the area under double cropping. “Special attention will be paid to rain-fed farming (dry land agriculture) in terms of augmentation of available water resource, rain water harvesting and recharge of aquifers,” the project report says.

“Judicious use of irrigation water is necessary and management will be ensured through improved irrigation practices, micro-irrigation systems (sprinkler and drip irrigation), water harvesting structures, cultivation of high value low water requiring crops, water saving methods of cultivation to improve Water Use Efficiency (WUE) e.g. System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and choice of cropping pattern,” it further says.

According to the project report, organic farming will be promoted in the hilly regions of the state through conjunctive use of plant residues, farmyard manure, bio-fertilizers, vermicompost, bio-pesticides, bio-control agents, associated cropping of legumes with cereals, etc. “This will improve Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and sustainability of farming systems,” the report says.

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