Dr. Avnish Jolly, 20th October, 2008 :The voluntary tax would be utilised to create an environment fund for protecting nature from certain death and making the state a carbon-neutral stat. In a first of its kind initiative in India, the Government of Himachal Pradesh will impose a voluntary ‘green tax’ on vehicle users to generate a fund for combating climatic changes. The tax became a reality with cabinet ministers recently deciding to contribute Rs 100 per month towards creating the corpus.
Prem Kumar Dhumal Chief Minister said that the environment fund will be utilised for protecting nature from certain death and making the state a carbon-neutral state and he added with climatic changes around the globe posing a serious threat, it’s our duty to contribute a certain amount on a regular basis towards the environmental fund as cost of damage caused to the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
The hill state has already taken various initiatives towards ecology conservation. As part of its first micro-level drive, residents across the state planted 1.5 million saplings on a single day, August 3, 2008, under the Jan Jan Sanjivani programme. From next year, the government plans to plant 4.5-5 million medicinal and wild fruit plants through the year. The state has 66 per cent of its geographical area under forest cover.
JP Nadda state Forest Minister said that our aim in imposing a green tax is not only to sensitise people about the importance of flora and fauna but also to take measures to protect these from extinction and unlike the environment tax imposed under law in across the country, the state’s ‘green tax’ will be totally voluntary. The fund to be raised through tax will be managed by the state environment department.
Stating that Himachal Pradesh is also one of those most vulnerable to climate change as Himalayan glaciers retreat due to global warming, Nadda said that it’s time to save the environment for our coming generations.