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NGT directs MPSBB to issue notices to 500 cos for recovery ABS under Biological Diversity Act

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Monday, December 22, 2014, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Madhya Pradesh Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) to issue fresh notices to around 500 companies following ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) recent notification on access to biological resources and benefits sharing (ABS).

The notification which is in effect from November 21, 2014 states that when the biological resources are accessed for commercial utilisation or the bio-survey and bio-utilisation leads to commercial utilisation, the applicant shall have the option to pay the benefit sharing ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 per cent at the following graded percentages of the annual gross ex-factory sale of the product which shall be worked out based on the annual gross ex-factory sale minus government taxes.

National Green Tribunal (NGT) which was until now awaiting a clear-cut and well-defined guideline on ABS gave a hearing to the concerned cases recently, according to an official associated with the development.

Cases of litigations pending with National Green Tribunal (NGT) Bhopal bench of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and in various benches of High Court of MP may soon get cleared after a gap of two years.

In 2012, companies had moved to courts when MPSBB asked them to deposit the stipulated amount on benefit sharing as per the Biological Diversity Act.

The recent notification on ABS empowers respective state biodiversity boards to determine the amount of benefit sharing to be given by Ayush manufacturers to the state exchequer.

State biodiversity boards have hailed the notification as a welcome change as it will notify uniform rules thus allowing them to collect from domestic and foreign companies a certain percentage of their ex-factory gross sales of products using biological resources and traditional knowledge.

As per the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, Ayush manufacturer has the responsibility to share details of the source from where the raw material has been procured and also a certain percentage of the revenue generated out of the production for its sustainable use.

While Uttarakhand State Biodiversity Board (USBB) and Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) have started sensitising Ayush manufacturers on access and benefit sharing for sustainable use of bio-resources as per the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, Gujarat State Biodiversity Board (GSBB) is in the process of scrutinising around 100 such applications based on the notices served for compliance to the Act.

Others states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal have also been able to implement Biological Diversity Act, 2002 towards sustainable use of bio-resources and benefit sharing.

In order to implement the act, state biodiversity boards across the country had started issuing notices to the Ayush manufacturers not registered with them, a few months ago, directing them to do so at the earliest.

According to Section 7 and 24 (2) of the Act, organisations extracting plant-based material for commercial purpose without intimation to state biodiversity board are liable under Section 55 (2) of the Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to three years with fine or five years with fine or both.

Till date, over 34,000 Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and 28 State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) have been set up under Section 22 (2) of the Act across the country. Local bodies have constituted the BMCs in respective states as per Section 41 of the Act. BMCs also prepare, maintain and validate People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with the local people. PBR gives information about the details of biological resources and traditional knowledge.

 

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