DW BUREAU / CHANDIGARH
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said the government is fully committed to environmental causes and aims to electrify the railways in gradual phases.
“The entire railway network in India would be electrified in phased manner making it environment-friendly,” the minister said.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Global Law Conference on Environmental Law: Challenges and Solutions’ at Chandigarh University here, he said India would lead the world in poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism and climate justice.
He said there is a dire need to keep a balance between the environment and the development process based on
the needs of society, adding that it is in the Indian tradition and heritage to respect nature. He said that even Kautilya’s treatise Arthshastra has mention of environment protection, while Emperor Ashoka’s fifth rock edict too stresses on the same issue.
“The government of India is fully committed to environment protection from day one,” the minister added.
Talking about e-vehicle, he said it provides a unique opportunity to India and can help in saving billions in foreign exchange. Highlighting the achievements of the government, Goyal said after 2014 within five years more than 90 per cent of households have cooking gas connections and sanitation coverage has reached more than 90 per cent.
In his presidential address, Justice Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court stressed that missionary zeal is necessary to address environmental issues and a healthy environment ensures a good economy. In his welcome address, Justice Swatanter Kumar (retd), who is the chairman of the advisory board of the university, said the purpose of the conference were to bring to the fore the challenges and solutions related to the environment and creating environmental consciousness in the people, especially in the youth.
Stressing on environmental laws, he said India has enough laws for environmental protection but the issue is with the implementation.
United Nations Environment Director Mrema Elizabeth interacted with the participants through a tele-conference and lauded the efforts of the Supreme Court in interpreting fundamental rights in relation to the environment.