Tribune News Service
Shimla, May 11
Himachal boasts of huge biological resources, which need to be conserved by everyone. This was stated by Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Chairman of the State Biodiversity Board Tarun Kapoor while presiding over a state-level interactive workshop on Biological Diversity Act, 2002, for the media here today.
Informing that the State Biodiversity Board had been constituted in Himachal for the implementation of provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, he said the Act emphasized the formation of biodiversity management committees (BMCs) at the gram panchayat level and documentation of people biodiversity register (PBR) aims to give access and benefit control over biological resources to local bodies.
He said the Act provided ownership of biological resources to local panchayats. The board was implementing a programme to increase institutional, individual and systematic capacities of all stakeholders to effectively implement the Act to achieve biodiversity conservation.
Urging the media to disseminate the significance of biological resources, which were on the verge of extinction, he said the media played a critical role in providing information that influenced public opinion leading to social change, including conservation and the environment.
The HP State Biodiversity Board had constituted 425 biodiversity management committees comprising three ecosystems in the state, he said. A project for identification of sacred groves for declaring them as heritage sites in the state was being executed in collaboration with WWF, Shimla.
He said around 350 economically potential bio resources had been identified. The major component of the tradable commodities traded from the state were medicinal plants and an estimated 2,500 MT of non timber forest products worth crores of rupees were officially traded annually.
Joint Member Secretary of HP State Biodiversity Board Kunal Satyarthi said the Biodiversity Act comprised stringent provisions of punishment on violation which could be an imprisonment of 5 years and a fine up to Rs 10 lakh or both. He said the Act provided for conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of utilisation of genetic resources and to give effect to the said convention.
Archana Sharma, Director, Environment, Science & Technology, said India was a treasure of 5-10 million species of animals and plants, out of which 1.70 million had already been lost while two millions were estimated to be lost in the next decade. She said an inventory of threatened species was maintained by the Board which regulated access and benefit sharing.
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