NGT extends time for constitution of biodiversity management committees

NGT extends time for constitution of biodiversity management committees

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has extended the time limit for the constitution of biodiversity management committees (BMCs) and preparation of people's biodiversity registers (PBRs) on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was assured by the member secretary of the National Biodiversity Authority that monitoring will be faithfully conducted with all the state biodiversity boards concerned and necessary steps for compliance of law will be taken. "We also find that in view of COVID situation, it will be necessary to take a liberal view about the delay caused. Accordingly, the time for remaining compliances is extended up to June 30, 2021, and compensation amounts will stand waived if compliances are ensured by that date," the bench said.

The green panel noted that it has already monitored the matter for the last more than four years and there is substantial progress in compliance with the requirements of setting up BMCs and maintaining PBRs. The order was passed after some states sought extension of time on account of the pandemic and also waiver of the requirement to pay compensation for the delay.

The NGT noted that India is one of the recognised mega-diverse countries of the world, harbouring nearly seven to eight per cent of the recorded species of the world, and representing four of the 34 globally identified biodiversity hotspots.

"So far, over 91,200 species of animals and 45,500 species of plants have been documented in the 10 biogeographic regions of the country. The indigenous and local community are a repository of traditional knowledge and their knowledge and practices help in conservation and sustainable development of the biodiversity," the tribunal said.

"In the past, India has already faced biopiracy. There is, thus, urgent need to document the knowledge of the local community in the form of PBR," it added.

The NGT was earlier informed by a monitoring committee formed by it that as against 2,52,709 panchayats where biodiversity management committees were to be constituted, a total of 1,44,371 BMCs have been formed, which shows a gap of more than one lakh. With respect to people's biodiversity registers, 6,834 have been documented so far and another 1,814 are in progress, it had noted.

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