Minister for Panchayats M.K. Muneer said here on Wednesday that the government would prescribe a deadline for panchayats to complete the preparation of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR).
The Minister took a serious note of the deficit of PBRs in the State while inaugurating a BMC-NGO meet organised as part of the National Biodiversity Expo hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. He said local self-government institutions were indispensable elements in biodiversity conservation.
Noting that Kerala was the only State maintaining the People’s Biodiversity Register in over 450 panchayats, the Minister said the government would support any initiative for biodiversity conservation. “We will accommodate the proposals of the board in the next panchayat-level project proposal of the department,” he said. “We can all be proud of the fact that the Human Development Index of Kerala is next to that of Norway. Conservation activities have a crucial role in maintaining this,” he said.
Delivering the presidential address, KSBB chairman Oommen V. Oommen said Kerala was the first State in the country to set up BMCs (Biodiversity Management Committees) in all local bodies. He said that the National Biological Diversity Act envisaged conservation in a localised fashion. “KSBB and other institutions can provide the technical and scientific expertise, but the field-level execution depends on the merit of the BMCs and NGOs,” he said.
In his keynote address, R.V. Varma, former KSBB chairman, said the decentralised method of conservation would go a long way in arresting the depletion of biodiversity in the State. Highlighting the need to ensure adequate funds for conservation, he proposed a local revenue generation model to support BMCs.
Addressing the meet, Pampa Samrakshana Samithi chairman Sukumaran Nair said Kerala must wake up to the need of river conservation. “Recent scientific studies have indicated a relation between biodiversity and diseases. The less the conservation of biodiversity, the more prone the area becomes to diseases,” he added.
K.P. Laladhas, member secretary, KSBB, emphasised the pivotal role envisaged for BMCs and local bodies under the National Biological Diversity Act.
Representatives of 30 NGOs and 200 BMCs from across the State, including Save Idukki Campaign; Help Foundation, Kollam; Green community, Kottayam; Centre for Dalit Students and Achievement, Thiruvananthapuram; Kuttanad Nature Society, Alappuzha; and Neythal , Kasaragod; participated in the discussions held as part of the meet.