Biodiversity board pulls up firms for non-compliance

The threat to bio-species is increasing as demand for Ayurvedic and natural products is on the rise.

Beware! Not all bio-products you use have green licence. Karnataka Biodiversity Board (KBB) has revealed that many industries in Karnataka have not disclosed the origin of the natural resources procured. The Board fears that the products could be illegal.

To set anomaly right, KBB has started the process of checking on industries and slapping notices.

“More than 500 industries in Karnataka use bio-resources. But over 55% of them do not follow rules. So, we have started issuing notices to industries. So far we have dragged five major industries to court, penalised one and filed cases filed against 20,” a senior KBB official told DH.

Cases have been booked under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, the Biodiversity Rules, 2004 and Access and Benefit Sharing Guidelines, 2014, issued by the National Biodiversity Authority.

The rules state those using bio-resources for commercial purposes (earning revenues) should seek licence from KBB.

Legal action

“Checking on industries started in 2014. But this is the first time legal action is being initiated as many are flouting norms. There has been a drastic decline in number of applications since 2015. This year we have received less than 100 applications. While industries are following the wait-and-watch policy, we have decided to show no leniency. We have coordinated with Medicinal Plant Board, Karnataka Forest Department and licence-issuing authorities,” the official said.

The threat to bio-species is increasing as demand for Ayurvedic and natural products is on the rise, especially health supplements and cosmetics.

The department has found many forest produces such as Garcinia Camogia (kokam), Cinnamon, Tulsi, Amla and Tree Lichens.

While industries claim to be acquiring bio-resources from other parts of India, assessments have shown that most are found in Western Ghats and are being extracted as minor forest produce.

The trail of traders led the Board to Amritsar, Indore, Lucknow, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

“Since there was no verification at check posts, the Board decided to check end-users (industries),” the official added.

  • biodiversity board
  • Biological Diversity Act
  • medicinal plant board
  • green licence