National Biodiversity Authority must exercise its powers: NGT member

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has lots of powers and functions and it should exercise these powers to ensure that the survey of the entire country is taken, with one of the issues being the demarcation of eco-sensitive zones, Justice P. Jyothimani, judicial member, National Green Tribunal said.

Speaking at the 14th Foundation Day celebrations of the NBA, he said no State had demarcated the eco-sensitive zones so far. “Most of this is in Kerala. We had given directions to the Kerala government to demarcate it and send it to the Ministry of Environment and Forest. There was an issue…now it is not complete”, he said.

“If State governments do not complete the process of eco-sensitive zones, what is your power? You are the authority to decide on the biodiversity,” he said, exhorting the NBA to exercise its power. He also asked the NBA authorities if they could make States liable under the Act. “Come to NGT for a direction,” he said in a lighter vein.

Despite increasing awareness about the National Green Tribunal, almost 95% of the environmental cases still went to the High Courts, sometimes directly to the Supreme Court. “…or the High Courts are usurping the powers. Then the purpose of enacting a Parliamentary law (for the NGT) is thwarted,” he said.

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary to Government, recalled the Tamil Nadu government’s efforts to promote research institutions in the State.

“There were much lesser GoI institutions in Chennai compared to other places and the government did realise that having more research institutions and institutes like this will always encourage the scientific community and students. That is why in the last few years, the government has facilitated the setting up of many institutes,” he said.

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