Nagpur: Defunct for a long time, the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) has chalked out a four-point agenda to streamline its functioning.
The four-point agenda includes restoration and eco-restoration of environmental biodiversity by 2030, in areas where huge damage has taken place. This is also one of the aims of the World Biodiversity Council.
“With the help of the Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, we have identified 550 medicinal plant species out of which a district-wise list of 130 species that are endemic and endangered will be prepared and saplings of these plant species will be prepared in hi-tech nurseries,” said Pravin Srivastava, PCCF & member-secretary of the MSBB.
Talking to newsmen on Tuesday, Srivastava said, “Plans are also afoot to prepare a portal of MSBB and all information related to people’s biodiversity registers (PBRs) and biodiversity management committees (BMCs) will be brought on the digital platform.”
This is perhaps the maiden press conference by any member-secretary of the board in the last 9 years since the MSBB was set up. Srivastava admitted that over 28,600 PBRs, a document containing knowledge of local biological resources, were prepared in the state in a tearing hurry as the NGT, Delhi, had set a deadline of January 30, 2020, failing which every state was to impose a penalty of Rs 10 lakh per month starting February 1, 2020.
“An expert committee was set up in April to look into the anomalies in the PBRs. We have set 10 parameters and only if these conditions are fulfilled, the PBRs will be considered otherwise modifications will be suggested. The task will be completed in two months,” said Srivastava.
On the implementation of access and benefit-sharing (ABS), which refers to the access of biological resources and sharing of benefits with people, the MSBB member-secretary said, “Till now, the ABS has not been implemented. However, we have received Rs 57.23 lakh from 43 companies in the state while another over Rs 62 lakh has come in from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). The Rs 1.19 crore will be shared with select biodiversity management committees (BMCs) in the state.”
Srivastava said companies are coming forward to reveal names of traders from whom they are buying resources. “We are issuing a public notice now warning that violation of the laws would lead to three years of imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine,” he said.
As per the first option, the ABS has recovered 3% of the annual turnover for trading bio-resources and 5% from manufacturing companies. As per the second option, 0.1% is charged on finished products worth Rs 1 crore and 0.2% between Rs 1 to 3 crore and 0.5% above Rs 3 crore.