After a prolonged delay, the State Biodiversity Board was, at last, formed in Tamil Nadu. An order to this effect was issued by the State government on August 17.
A senior Forest official concedes that while Tamil Nadu has just begun its journey, other southern States — Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka — have gone one step further by notifying Biodiversity Rules. Besides, they, which have formed hundreds of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC), are maintaining numerous registers of people engaged in biodiversity conservation.
The delay in forming the Board and the BMCs in the State had an adverse bearing on the implementation of access and benefit sharing (ABS) programme, as stipulated under the National Biodiversity Act 2002. For example, effective conservation of biodiversity, especially outside forest areas, was not carried out. In the absence of these bodies, it would not be possible to regulate rising of medicinal plants, the official points out.
Asked for reaction, Ravikant Upadhyay, Chief Conservator of Forest (Biodiversity), said four Biodiversity Management Committees have been formed in the district of Ramanathapuram. The government has allocated Rs. 7.5 lakh for the State Biodiversity Board, which has distributed 618 solar lanterns to local communities in Ramanathapuram, he adds.