Cabinet approves setting up of Maharashtra Gene Bank Project
Mumbai: To conserve native and endangered animals, crops, marine and biological species, Maharashtra has decided to set up a gene bank project
Mumbai: To conserve native and endangered animals, crops, marine and biological species, Maharashtra has decided to set up a gene bank project. The ‘Maharashtra Gene Bank Project’ will work on seven themes -- marine, crop, veterinary, freshwater, grassland biodiversity, protection and management of forest right areas, and regeneration of forests.
It will tap into indigenous knowledge resources, work on documenting these species and the knowledge of local communities and preserve these genetic and molecular samples. In the next five years, an amount of ₹172.39 crore will be spent on these seven focus areas.
The project, which was mentioned by deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar in his budget speech for 2022-23, was approved by the state cabinet on Thursday.
Apart from protecting biodiversity, the project will focus on mitigating the impact on the food chain due to climate change. The project will be implemented by the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) and will be overseen by committees under the chief secretary and the principal secretary (forests).
Sheshrao Patil, chairman, MSBB, said that the gene bank project had been implemented on an experimental basis from 2012 to 2019 by the state government’s Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission.
“To preserve crop biodiversity, we will encourage genome carriers who conserve seeds of local varieties of crops and create seed banks,” he explained.
Patil added that they would also identify pure breeds of local species of cattle like Gavlau, Dangi and Kandhari cows that are found in Wardha, north Maharashtra and Marathwada, respectively. It will also identify the Osmanabadi breed of goats and the Pandharpuri buffalo. The genetic and semen samples of these cattle will be preserved and their breeders will be supported.
The MSBB will coordinate with institutions like the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa to document and conserve rare and endangered marine species and chalk out an action plan. Similarly, it is also working with various agricultural and animal sciences universities and government departments and institutions on the other themes.