Meghalaya okays biodiversity legislation

Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 22:15

Shillong: The state government has
approved the Meghalaya Bio-diversity Rule, 2010, paving the
way for constituting a board to preserve the rich biodiversity
in the state.

Stressing that the government was committed to ensure
that smuggling of medicinal plants are checked, Forest
Minister R C Laloo said, "the rule would help check illegal
sale of medicinal plants and facilitate proper preservation of
the existing medicinal plants."

It would help the state take punitive action on those
who sell the medicinal plants in the open market, Laloo said
after a cabinet meeting last night.

The government would form the Meghalaya Bio-diversity
Board with active participation of forest department.

Laloo said the co-ordination of those who own private
forestland is needed to preserve the state’s bio-diversity.
Once the rule is adopted, the government will be able
to map more medicinal plants existing in forests, including
the ‘sacred groves’.

The government also wants to see that there is
sustainable management of medicinal plants, besides creation
of plantations of medicinal plants.

The government is also planning to encourage
institutions like joint forest management committees involving
local people, NGOs and traditional institutions to create
plantations and then to set up small-scale enterprises.

According to the report of the state level planning
committee, Meghalaya has 850 species of medicinal plants, 377
of which are used by at least 80 per cent of the state’s
population for primary healthcare needs.

Of this, 74 medicinal and aromatic plants have high
therapeutic value.

According to the report, species like Nepenthes
khasiana and Piper peepuloides, endemic to Meghalaya, are
globally threatened.

There are around 136 practitioners of local herbal
medicines and 15 private clinics. As none of these are
registered under relevant acts and rules, the bio-diversity
rule was adopted by the cabinet to see that the herbal
practitioners are properly empowered.

The board would offer suggestions to the government in
matters related to the conservation, promotion and sustainable
use of biological diversity as well as equitable sharing of
the benefits arising out of the realization of biological
resources.

The cabinet also approved the Meghalaya State Legal
Service Authority (Amendment Regulation) to ensure speedy
disposal of the cases at the Lok Adalats.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 22:15

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