TODAY -

MBB fails to constitute prescibed number of BMCs
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 04 2020: In what could be termed as an appalling situation concerning the implementation of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in the State, Manipur Biodiversity Board (MBB) has failed to constitute/prepare the required numbers of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and People's Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) within the deadline set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

As such, the MBB is now preparing an affidavit explaining the reason to the NGT for delay in executing the same tasks apart from appealing the same tribunal to extend the deadline given for constitution of BMCs.

Sources in MBB informed that out of the total 2282 BMCs (covering both hills and valley) which are supposed to be constituted in the State, only 1344 BMCs have been constituted so far.

Out of the 2282 BMCs to be constituted, 194 BMCs should be constituted in the valley districts.

So far 192 BMCs have been constituted in the valley districts which means only two Gram Panchayats is now left out.

It is also said that out of the total 162 PBRs which need to be prepared, only 37 PBRS have been prepared till date.

The source further informed that fund constraint has been the main factor for the delay in constituting BMCs and preparation of PBRs in the State.

Saying that formation of State Biodiversity Boards is the responsibility of the respective State Governments, the source informed that constitution and preparation of PBRs in the State requires Rs 15,76,20,000.It is said that the State Government has failed to sanction the required fund for constitution and preparation of PBRs in the State owing to its poor financial position.

And as such, the MBB has appealed to the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to provide monetary assistance.

Meanwhile, the NGT passed an order on August 9, 2019 in connection with a petition filed by one Chandra Bhal Singh in which the State of Manipur is listed as one of the respondents.

The order comprised of a directive which states that the Chief Secretaries of all the States, where the defaults are continuing, may consider giving a warning to the Panchayat Secretaries for their past failures, recording the same in their service record and give direction to the officers who are responsible for the job to ensure compliance with 100% constitution of BMCs and PBRs by January 31 this year failing which coercive measures may have to be considered against them.

It further said that the States would be accountable for defaults and required to deposit a sum of Rs 10 lakh per month from February 1, 2020 with the CPCB to be utilized for restoration of the environment.

The States will be at liberty to recover the said amount from the persons committing the default.

Notably BMCs are constituted for maintenance of PBRs in the respective States.

The main function of the BMC is to prepare PBR in consultation with local people.

PBR is an important document which contains comprehensive information on locally available bio-resources including landscape and demography of a particular area or village.

It also provides information about local biological resources, their medicinal or any other uses or any other traditional knowledge associated with them.

According to Biological Diversity Act (2002), every local body shall constitute a BMC within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land, folk varieties and cultivators, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and micro-organisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and the State Biodiversity Boards shall provide guidance and technical support to the BMCs for preparing PBRs.

The PBRs shall be maintained and validated by the BMCs.

Meanwhile, environmentalists in the State have stressed on the importance of constituting BMCs and ensure their functioning for effective conservation of biodiversity.

Yumnam Jiten, an environmentalist observed that the formation of authorized committees like BMCs is of utmost important for protection of the State's biodiversity, particularly the wetlands in the State like Loktak lake and Waithoupat.

Saying that the State had already lost many wetlands, he expressed strong concern that the same trend is still going on with many of the important lakes like Waithoupat and Loktak Lake being continuously deteriorating while many species, flora and fauna have disappeared.

Further pointing out that many new species have also been incessantly discovered in lakes and water bodies, he said that there is high possibility of discovering many more species in the near future if proper research and exploratory works are strengthened in the State.

He added that many more species in the State will become extinct even before their discovery, if the water bodies and wetlands continue to shrink at the present rate.

While highlighting the grievous picture of deforestation and ever increasing level of shrinking agricultural lands in the State in the name of development, Jiten emphasized on the urgent need for intervention from accredited authorities like MBB into rampant destruction of biodiversity.

Monitoring, research, evaluation, assessment and budgetary allocation concerning conservation of biodiversity in the State will be fortified if the conservation work is done through a formal channel with the involvement of recognized authorities like MBB and their BMCs.

He said that involvement of local bodies and authorities will enhance conservation of biodiversity and environment as they have their own effective tactics and traditional ways concerning the same task.

The environmentalist continued to opine that involvement of local bodies and authorities will be vital in the effort to conserve biodiversity in the State as conserving biodiversity requires participatory approach and collective effort.


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