MPSBB notice to 500 companies under bio-diversity act
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MPSBB notice to 500 companies under bio-diversity act

Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) appears to have got its act together and has given notices to over 500 manufacturing companies who are using forest based bio-resources of the state.

bhopal Updated: Feb 27, 2019 12:58 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Forest,tribals
(HT photo)

Nearly a decade and a half it was set up, Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) appears to have got its act together and has given notices to over 500 manufacturing companies who are using forest based bio-resources of the state and not paying back to the community from where the resources are being taken, said officials.

These notices are the first after biodiversity regulations were formed in the state in 2014 giving teeth to the Bio Diversity Act. The board had given around 700 notices in 2014, but all the companies went to court as there were no regulations of the act and everything got mired in litigation, official said.

“The notices have been given in last three months. Most of the companies are cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies operating in Madhya Pradesh and they are not paying back to the local community – mostly tribals – from where these bio-resources are being taken, which is mandatory under the provisions of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and the subsequent rules and regulations formed by the state,” said MPSBB member secretary R Sreenivasa Murthy.

So far around 110 manufacturing companies have replied saying that they are willing to comply to the rules, which makes it compulsory for them to give 5 per cent of the procurement price of the bio-resources to the State Bio-Diversity Fund, and 95 per cent of this fund goes back to the Local Biodiversity Fund and will be used by the local forest based bodies for the benefit of the local community living there, Murthy said adding, “We expect to net nothing less than Rs 100 cr into the Fund,”

Everything is based on the concept of “Access Benefit Sharing”, (ABS) which means the companies have to share the benefits of accessing the bio-resources of that area. The Biodiversity Act itself calls to conserve the biodiversity, promote its sustainable use and have ABS to ensure continued sustainable use.

There penal provisions for violating the Act are stringent – 5 years jail and Rs 10 lakh fine or both for non-Indian traders \manufacturers and 3 years jail and Rs 5 lakhs fine or both for Indian manufacturers\traders, the board will wield the stick only in rare circumstances. “We are more into seeking cooperation from the manufacturers for conserving nature, but if they don’t fall in line we will take action” Murthy added.

Meanwhile, extending the reach of the board, all territorial chief conservator of forests and all territorial conservator of forests/divisional forest officers have been made ex-officio officers of the board and have been asked to ensure that all traders who deal with forest bio-resources comply with the bio-diversity rules.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 12:58 IST