Cover Story

Jigmet Takpa IFS

For successfully implementing biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood improvement programmes in the Ladakh region

img-dec2015-15JIGMET Takpa pioneered biodiversity conservation, rural development and renewable energy in Ladakh and established a benchmark in the Himalaya. An officer of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) from Ladakh, his achievements are testament to his dedication. Takpa’s initiatives to address the development and conservation challenges facing Ladakh’s fragile ecosystem include establishing flagship projects in identifying, devising and adapting suitable technologies for efficiently managing the natural resources of the high-altitude Himalayan regions. He conceptualised the livelihood improvement programmes for the Ladakh region and adopted a landscape-level approach to biodiversity conservation. His efforts resulted in a rapid growth in the populations of key flagship species such as the snow leopard, bar-headed goose, black-necked crane, wild yaks, Asiatic ibex and the Tibetan antelope.

He is credited with the success of Project Snow Leopard that turned Ladakh into the snow leopard capital of the world. The Ladakh Ecotourism Project has directly benefitted the community. The Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative vastly alleviated the longstanding problem of energy shortage in the region and reduced the tremendous expenditure of the Government of India in sustaining the energy sector. Access to electricity in Leh and Kargil districts has brought alternative livelihood options and has improved the efficiency of PHCs and defence establishments.

Takpa has been conferred various prestigious awards—the Environmental Hero Award, the State Award for Meritorious Public Service, J&K, the Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award, the Renewtech Award for Best Nodal Agency, and the Gyalwang Drukpa Award. He also figures in the Book of Guinness World Records for the most trees planted simultaneously (2011). Takpa is at present the Director, Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency, Government of Jammu & Kashmir.

VOL. 9, ISSUE 9 | DEC, 2015

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