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UK Minister and Sovan Chatterjee conducts sensitization program on climate change in Kolkata

India Blooms News Service | | 26 Aug 2015, 11:25 pm
Kolkata, Aug 25 (IBNS) The British might have left India a long time ago but their love for the 'City of Joy' remains undeterred and unblemished to this day and to protect Kolkata from the jaws of pollution, develop it into a low-carbon and climate resilient city, Desmond Swayne, UK Minister of State for International Development, visited Kolkata on Tuesday and along with Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, promoted climate action in Kolkata.

Scott Furssedonn-Wood, British Deputy High Commissioner, Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar, Environmental Affairs Minister, Govt. of West Bengal and Debashis Kumar, MMIC, also attended the event.

“Kolkata is a developing city,” the Mayor said, “London is a developed city, but I am pretty confident our city will soon achieve that status,” he added.

Chatterjee, who drew comparisons between Kolkata and London and pointed out similarities between the two cities also said, “London will not be Kolkata, Kolkata will not be London, but there is a similarity.”

The UK Minister of State said, “We are very proud of the partnership that we have made with the State Government and with the Municipal Corporation.”

“You can feel the life, the initiative, the enterprise of this fantastic growing city but as you know with life comes challenges. The challenges of urbanization and of course of climate change," the Minister said.

“Kolkata can truly become a role model for other cities,” he added.

The British Deputy High Commissioner said, “Kolkata is a great city. It a city which the UK enjoys very deep historic connection to.”

He continued, “But it is also a city which is growing very rapidly and rushing headlong towards the future at an incredible rate and this growth combined with the geographical location make it more vulnerable than many cities to the effect of climate change.”

During British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s last visit to Kolkata in 2013, the British Government signed a MOU with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to work together and ensure that the future growth of this city is carbon-free and resilient to the effect of climate change.

Minister Ghosh Dastidar took on CPIM, the preceding ruling party of West Bengal as he said, “Kolkata experienced minimal changes for a long time. It’s only in the last four years that a lot of changes have taken place.”

“We have already started five hundred solar projects in schools, colleges and other bodies. Some parts of Kolkata will be adapting this from our department.”

Most of Kolkata’s electricity is charcoal powered; this pollutes the environment to a greater degree, causing various incurable diseases and other long-term hazards. The experts have come up with a solution, the installation of solar panels.

“Though it’s a costly affair, the effect it has on the environment is positive and will also help in reducing electricity bills.” said an environmentalist attending the program.

The ministers launched sensitization kits on climate change in Bengali and Hindi for councilors and elected representative.

Prizes were also given out by the ministers to winners of the sit and draw competition which took place days prior to the event.

The event concluded with a ‘Chhau’ dance performance based on global warming.

(Reporting By Sudipto Maity)