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MPSBB takes action against Mumbai based company for non-compliance to BD Act

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Monday, July 10, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Following the access and benefit sharing (ABS) notification of November 21, 2014 of the Biological Diversity (BD) Act, Madhya Pradesh (MP) became the country’s first state to register a case of non-compliance as MP State Bio-diversity Board (MPSBB) and the Forest Department raided and seized more than two quintals of herbs from Mumbai headquartered Konark Herbal and Health Care Company.

The Madhya Pradesh Bio-diversity Enforcement Cell which conducted the raid had been constituted before the proceedings of the raid, which is the first in the country.

Officials of the company were arrested and presented before the Himachal Pradesh (HP) High Court (HC) for illegally transporting salai gond which is a bio-resource from Shivpuri to HP for commercial use. The factory of Konark Herbal and Health Care Company is situated in Kala Amb of HP.

The company was manufacturing food and medicinal products besides cosmetics after extracting oil from herbs purchased from traders of Madhya Pradesh and other states and selling them at exorbitant prices. MPSBB in coordination with Himachal Bio-diversity Board (HPBB) took nearly 5 days in the proceedings in the case in which about 50 persons were engaged.

While investigating the case it was found that the firm’s parent company is in Daman with headquarters is in Mumbai. The annual turnover of the company is Rs.35 to Rs.50 crore with two factories in Kala Amb in Himachal Pradesh.

As per the ABS notification of BD Act, manufacturers are accountable to share details of the source from where raw material has been procured in Form I and further submission of the same to the respective state biodiversity boards (SBBs).

It also stipulates that violation of Sections 7 and 24 (2) of BD Act, 2002 by not giving prior intimation to SBB in case of access to biological resources for commercial purposes, companies shall be held liable and punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to Rs.5 lakhs or with both under Section 55 (2) of the BD Act.

Officials from the MPSBB said that Konark Herbal and Health-Care Company had not acquired the permission of any state including Madhya Pradesh for commercial use of bio-resources (herbs) under Section- 7 of Bio-diversity Act-2002, although the company is operating since 2010.

As per the ABS notification, dated November 21, 2014 the benefit sharing obligation from trader and manufacturer shall be in the range of 1 to 3 per cent and 3 to 5 per cent respectively of the purchase price of the biological resources. However, there is option to pay benefit sharing on sale price of the biological resources accessed for commercial utilisation under the law. For annual gross ex factory sale of product, in case of Rs.1 crore benefit sharing will be 0.1 per cent, for Rs.1 to Rs.3 crore, it would be 0.2 per cent, for above Rs.3 crores turn over, the benefit sharing will be 0.5 per cent.


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