Set up panel for biodiversity in local bodies: NGT

Set up panel for biodiversity in local bodies: NGT

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Centre and the National Biodiversity Authority to ensure that a Biodiversity Management Committee is constituted within six months in each local body of the country.

It also ordered for the maintaining of people's biodiversity registers.

According to the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, every local body shall constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of landraces, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and microorganisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.

A wildlife enthusiast, Chandra Bhal Singh, filed an application before the green panel, contending that various states and authorities have failed to constitute the adequate number of BMCs.

They have also failed to prepare, maintain and validate the people’s biodiversity register as mandated under the Biological Diversity Rules, 2004. “The BMCs have failed to collect the charges through collection fees from the people who have accessed the biological resource for the commercial purposes. The state governments also failed to provide grants and loans to the respective state biodiversity boards,” the applicant claimed.

Pointing out gaps in the implementation of the law and rules, he claimed there are 2,51,428 local bodies but there are 46,317 BMCs in the country.

The Union government's counsel, however, disputed it, claiming, the number of BMCs as on August 6 is 73,367.

“Even if we accept the figure, as against the requirement of about 2.5 lakhs, the constitution of BMCs is only about 30% of the local bodies,” the green bench headed by Justice Adarsh K Goel said.

It directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and NBA to ensure the legal requirements were met within six months. It also ordered for the compliance of other requirements including maintaining people’s biodiversity registers.

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