Telangana takes lessons from Kerala on biodiversity

By Sanu George,

Thiruvananthapuram : If it was Goa that first decided to replicate the Kerala model of protecting its rich biodiversity, the newly formed state of Telangana is now following suit.

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Kerala is the only state in the country that has established Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) at all panchayats as required by the Biological Diversity Act and has set up more than 75 percent of the People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR) in all the local bodies.

On account of these achievements, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) has now become a must-visit place for other states as the state leads from the front in protecting its rich biodiversity through collective efforts.

C. Suvarana, member secretary of the Telangana State Biodiversity Board, who was in the city talking to the KSBB officials, undertaking field visits and meeting the elected representatives at the grassroots, said that she is excited by what she has seen and is determined to replicate this in the newly-formed state.

“Following the division of Andhra Pradesh, the new Biodiversity Board in Telangana state started functioning on March 1. I was told by officials that the best way to go ahead with our work is to visit Kerala and study what has been done. My visit has been hugely fruitful and am returning after learning what needs to be done,” Suvarana told IANS.

Her first task would be to set up 3,400 new BMCs as these exist in just 600 local bodies in Telangana.

The BMC is a statutory body comprising elected local government representatives and experts from the village councils, while the PBR lists out the flora and fauna and the traditional knowledge existing in every village.

“Allocation of funds is a problem, but I am returning with lots of Kerala government orders and orders of KSBB on how funds have been raised from the existing panchayati raj institutions here. The state government alone will not be able to provide the funds and the Kerala model will enable me to inform my seniors on how funds can be raised from other sources for protecting the biodiversity,” the senior Indian Forest Service officer added.

KSBB member-secretary K.P. Laladhas said that documentation is the key to its success as in the past four years, a lot of effort had gone into this.

“The biggest challenge is to ensure that one learns all there is to about biodiversity and how to protect it. This can be done only if there is proper documentation,” Laladhas told IANS.

(Sanu George can be contacted at [email protected])