Dabur India had been accessing biological resources for commercial purposes without obtaining required approvals, the National Biodiversity Board (NBB) told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 13.
Under the Biological Diversity Act, an Indian entity has to give intimation to the state biodiversity board while obtaining any bio-resources for commercial utilisation. “The Appellant [Dabur India] has been accessing the biological resources (125 species of herbs) and applied for approval only in the year 2020,” the NBB said in a reply affidavit.
The board’s response came after Dabur India had filed an appeal before the tribunal saying the NBB had unilaterally imposed 0.5% of annual gross ex-factory sale price of the product as a benefit sharing component under Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of the Biological Diversity Act. The company had requested the NBB to reconsider the amount based on the purchase price instead of selling price.
The board, however, stated that the company had misinterpreted the Biological Diversity Act to their advantage by reiterating that they had the option of paying the benefit sharing amount on the purchase price of the bio resources and not on selling price. “It is submitted that the option is available only to those who take approvals before accessing and not to those who access without approvals,” the NBB added.
The NBB also noted that out of 133 biological resources, some of them including Red Sander and Indian Sandalwood, fell under the endangered/rare/threatened categories as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.