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| Last Updated:: 07/08/2018

Block-level biodiversity management panels set up in Tamil Nadu











CHENNAI: In an important step towards protecting the State’s natural resources, Tamil Nadu has set up block-level biodiversity management committees (BMCs), which will be the custodians of local resources. In total, 383 BMCs have been constituted.



Though Tamil Nadu is one of the major States gifted with abundant biodiversity, the government has failed to document its flora and fauna in a systematic and scientific manner. Other southern States such as Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have already constituted the BMCs and are in the process of preparing the people’s biodiversity registers. 



The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 mandates all States to set up the biodiversity management committees (BMC), which will have one chairperson and six members, comprising one-third of women, and which will follow the SC/ST reservation as per state demography. 



A Udhayan, secretary, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board, told Express, “Yes, there was a delay in constituting the BMCs due to various factors. However, the crucial process has been completed and the exercise of preparing the people’s biodiversity registers will commence shortly,” he said. 



As per the Act, the role of BMCs will be to preserve and promote local biodiversity - breeds of birds, animals and plants, prepare the people’s biodiversity register, which will be an electronic database with inputs from locals. The BMCs will maintain data on medicinal plants/resources used by local ‘vaidhya’ (traditional healer) and advise the State and National Biodiversity Boards on matters related to local biodiversity. Under the Nagoya Protocol of Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), they can collect fees for granting access to the biodiversity register to researchers and commercial companies. 



According to sources constitution of BMCs would root out unregulated over-exploitation of rich forest resources. If any commercial company wants to access forest resources, an application has to be submitted to the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board, which, in turn, will seek opinions of the respective BMC. 



Section 26 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 talks about conservation and promotion of biological resources and development of areas from where such biological resources or knowledge associated thereto have been accessed and Section 23 empowers State boards to prohibit or restrict any such activity if it is of opinion that such activity is detrimental or contrary to the objectives of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity or equitable sharing of benefits arising out of such activity.










Source: The New Indian Express