Climate change: Assam has 15 of India’s 25 most vulnerable districts

Assam is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic proximity to the delta region and poor socio-economic conditions.

Published: 16th September 2022 05:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2022 05:24 PM   |  A+A-

Protest against climate change.

In this file image, a protest against climate change. (Photo |EPS)

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Policymakers stare agape at fresh climate change data for Assam which has 15 of India’s 25 most vulnerable districts.

Southern Assam’s Karimganj district, which shares a border with Bangladesh, tops the all-India chart, the state’s Minister of Science, Technology and Climate Change Keshab Mahanta told the Assembly on Friday.

The 14 other Assam districts in order of vulnerability are Goalpara, Dhubri, Darrang, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Cachar, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Tinsukia, Baksa, Morigaon, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and Hailakandi.

The minister, who did not cite the reasons behind vulnerability, said the state government was taking some steps to mitigate the problem.

He said the government launched the Chief Minister’s Institutional Plantation Programme to enhance carbon stock through the plantation of native species and create awareness among government officials on climate change mitigation.

“The uniqueness of the programme is that the saplings planted have been geo-tagged for the monitoring of their growth for three years. So far, 50,780 institutions under the state government have participated in the programme and 2,43,451 saplings have been planted,” Mahanta said.

He said all departments had been involved in the plantation drive and the performance of the Public Health Engineering was the best.

“Under the Chief Minister’s Climate-Resilient Village Fellowship Programme, 100 fellows will undertake a study in 100 villages to develop climate resilient models specific to these villages which could be taken up for developing as climate-resilient villages,” Mahanta said.

Assam is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic proximity to the delta region and poor socio-economic conditions.

According to climate projections in the State Action Plan for Climate Change, extreme rainfall events will increase by 38% in the state. The annual mean temperature in the state has increased by 0.59 degrees Celsius in 60 years (1951-2010).

A study by the Centre for Environment, Social and Policy Research, 2012, in collaboration with the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change, noted the widespread loss of livelihood options across Assam due to climate disasters, particularly floods and erosion.

“Assam has the highest overall vulnerability index in the country (Council on Energy, Environment and Water, 2021). The rainfall intensity is changing. Golaghat district has not witnessed a normal monsoon in the last 30 years. Severe drought also hit Assam’s wet regions in 2021,” the minister said in his written reply.

He said there has been an exponential increase in the frequency of flood events in Assam since 2010. He admitted the ban on plastic could not be enforced effectively.

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