By Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, July 25:
MoEST is doing homework to set up a Department of Environment Conservation. A draft concept paper in this regard will soon be forwarded to the chief secretary for final approval. A special team headed by joint secretary Khumraj Punjali has been formed to develop a framework for the department. “A separate department will give a boost to our environment conservation initiatives,” said Punjali.
According to the framework developed so far, the department will have six sections — environmental planning and auditing, pollution control and standard, laboratory and research, communication, law and administration. As per the framework, the new department will have less than 50 civil servants.
The MoEST believes that the department will be run by staffers of several government offices, who are capable but are lying idle. “So, it is not going to be a big financial liability for the ministry. Nonetheless, we will have to assign duties and responsibilities to staffers,” he said.
A government officer said, “The budget will not be a problem for the department as we have not been able to utilise budget allocated for us. Inability to execute projects is the problem.”
“The department will be outside Singha Durbar premises. This way, more and more people will visit us and we will interact with them on various issues,” the official said.
Source: The Himalayan Times, July 26, 2007