A meet on Environmental Information System (ENVIS) and its user interface

A two day meet on Environmental Information System and its user interface was organised by the Ministry in association with the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, (Sikkim unit) on 17th and 18th June, 2000 at Gangtok, Sikkim.

Mr. Pawan Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim was the Chief Guest of the meet and Dr. AK Kundra, Special Secretary of the Ministry presided over the function. Besides, Mr.TR Sharma, PCCF-cum-Secretary, Department of Forests, Environment and Wildlife, Government of Sikkim, Mr. Harjit Singh, Senior Advisor of the Ministry and Mr. D Bandyopadhyay, Director, Ministry of Environment & Forests addressed the participants belonging to several universities, R&D institutions, NGOs from the entire North-Eastern region. Several District Information Officers of the region also attended the meet.

The Chief Guest, Mr. Chamling, Dr. AK Kundra and other dignitaries lighted the lamp and they were felicitate by offering ‘Khadas’ by the organisers. While Dr. Eklavya Sharma, Senior Scientist and In-charge of the Sikkim unit of GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, highlighted the activities of the institute and relevance of the ENVIS meet in Sikkim, Dr. KS Rao, In-charge ENVIS Centre on Himalayan Ecology delivered the vote of thanks during the inaugural session.

Hon'ble CM of Sikkim is being welcomed by Dr. A.K. Kundra, Special Secretary of the Ministry

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister, Mr. Pawan Chamling said that he was extremely pleased to see that the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has established various centres in the country under ENVIS programme for providing urgently needed information services. He also emphasized that the importance of environmental information in policy planning, decision making and implementation of development programmes should have a sound environmental base and in such a situation, the services offered by ENVIS network, have become indispensable. The ENVIS programme should be made more popular and a strong networking between various institutions should be established at the earliest possible. He further emphasized that the forest cover in the State of Sikkim is 43% of the total area and a large part of it is under Protected Area Management, which shows a strong commitment from the Government of Sikkim on environment and conservation of biological wealth. The Chief Minister also stressed in his speech that his Government has already established a Department of Information Technology and is looking ahead for developing its infrastructure. In this direction, ENVIS, established by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is going to be highly beneficial in this State. He, therefore, felt that an ENVIS Centre on Eco-tourism should be established in Sikkim.

In his presidential address, Dr. Kundra expressed his satisfaction on the functioning of the ENVIS Focal Point in the Ministry and its 25 centres located throughout the country. Mr. Harjit Singh, in his presentation, introduced the subject to the delegates for a detailed discussion in the technical session and Mr. TR Sharma, informed the gathering about the progress made by the Department of Forests and Environment, on forests management within the defined policy framework. Shri D Bandyopadhyay, Director of the Ministry, presented the activities in detail of the ENVIS structure and the operation modalities of the various ENVIS Centres in their specific subject areas. He also informed the delegates about the various data bases available on the diverse subject areas of environment so that the users could access such information as and when needed.

During the afternoon technical sessions, Shri Harjit Singh gave a presentation on Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) being implemented by ENVIS. The SDNP structure and its utility were also described at length. This was followed by technical sessions, which included a detailed presentation from the ENVIS Centre at Botanical Survey of India on Floral Biodiversity and Zoological Survey of India on Faunal Biodiversity. The third technical session included three presentations by ENVIS Centres on Himalayan Ecology at GB Pant Institute, Eastern Ghats Ecology at EPTRI, Hyderabad and Environmental Education at CEE, Ahmedabad.

During the second day, several suggestions and comments were made by the various participants on the availability of environmental information through ENVIS network. Several recommendations were also made during the concluding session of the meet.