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news details
Bio Diversity Council to act as Govt ‘s Advisor
Utilization of biological resources in JK
9/20/2020 11:12:02 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Sept 20: The Bio Diversity Board which has been rechristened as J&K Bio Diversity Council will advise the government on matters relating to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilization of biological resources. According to the details available with Early Times the government has framed 10-member Bio Diversity Council for Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir, which is headed by J&K Principal Chief Conservator of Forests. Kashmir is a rich resource of medicinal plants, which are used in aromatherapy and cosmetics as well as medical treatments.
Several medicinal and aromatic plant species are at the verge of extinction.
Earlier in 2005, the J&K government had imposed a ban on the extraction of medicinal plants, fearing extinction of some species. However, in 2013, J&K Government lifted ban on the extraction of several medicinal plants and other minor forest produce from the forest areas.
Jammu and Kashmir has its forest cover stretching over 23,241 square kilometers, which is 10.46 per cent of its total geographical area of 1,01,387 square kilometers.
However, over one lakh kanals of forest area has been encroached in Kashmir.
One of the members of the Bio Diversity Council gave varied reasons for reduction of medicinal plants. “Smuggling is not a main factor. Construction of roads, pollution, and stress on habitat are main reasons that we are losing our medicinal plants, which need to be preserved,” he said.
Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir had Bio Diversity Board which was framed in 2015 but remained nonfunctional.
As per the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) are to be established under Section 22 of the Act. Accordingly, SBBs were established. However, Jammu and Kashmir did not make Bio Diversity Board as this Act was not directly applicable to erstwhile J&K State because of the special status under Article 370. Then it took J&K over a decade to frame rules. Eventually it made Bio Diversity Board in 2015 for a period of three years.
As per the J&K Biological Diversity Rules, 2015, the State Biodiversity Board is required to advise the Government on any matter concerning conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components; commission studies and sponsor investigations and research.
An official said the government would also provide training, awareness camps to forest dwellers to create nurseries in collaboration with J&K State Forest Research Institute, he said adding that the government needs to involve the locals so that the natural habitat is not disturbed and smuggling is stopped.
He said Forest Department in collaboration with State Medical Board shall create nurseries of medicinal plants so that “natural habitat is preserved”.
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