Himachal Pradesh is laying down its own environment master plan (EMP), heralding green growth in the hill state. Himachal will be first state in the country to have such plan.

To implement it effectively, vulnerability and sectoral guidelines have been prepared for all 116 tehsils and sub-tehsils so that priorities can be fixed for policy making. The exhaustive work has been undertaken by the IRG group, an international consultant in the field of environment.

The EMP is expected to be an important document that will help indicate the environment index of a place and accordingly decide future planning and development. This can help put a check on unregulated growth of certain towns which are saturated from the tourism point of view or keeping a polluting and environmentally degrading industry out of an area with a very high environment index and high vulnerability.

With guidelines for a high footprint sector like the industry, especially cements plants and tourism and transport projects, efforts will be made to identify trade-offs as well. In order to meet the challenge of achieving green growth, environmental and social sectoral guidelines have been prepared for 16 main sectors.

To make it more effective, the Department of Environment has held consultative workshops with stakeholders like the departments of Industries, Tourism, Power, Public Works and Forest so as to encourage them to prepare sectoral guidelines and the action plan. This would help address issues of ecological and environment restoration and bring convergence along with development activities. Most importantly the preparation of the EMP would help take decisions on future financing and investment for development in a sustainable manner.