Capacity development programme for Biodiversity Management Committee
MSSRF in collaboration with the Odisha Biodiversity Board (OBB), Bhubaneswar, organised two capacity building programmes for 20 Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) members from Boipariguda, Jeypore and Kundra, Semiliguda, Koraput and Pottangi CD blocks of Koraput district. The programme was held at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Jeypore office on August 2, and on August 3,at Regional Chief Conservator of Forest Training Hall, Koraput. 147 members participated including 92 BMC members, 12 Sarapanch, 24 forest officials 19 media and other department personnel. In addition, the District Fishery Officer, Block Agriculture Officer, Zoologist, Botanist and Coordinator of OBB were also present.
The programme was inaugurated by Dr M M Hossain, Director MSSRF Jeypore Centre. The main objective was to submit an application to declare Gupteswar as a Biodiversity Heritage Site. During the discussion Mr Subash Chandra Khuntia, ACF, Jeypore Forest Division, emphasised on conservation of RET flora and fauna, and safe guarding the natural habitat, while assuring full support from the forest department.
Dr Prasad Kumar Dash, Botanist, explained the flora found during documentation, while Dr Satya Ranjan Behera, Zoologist, showed important fauna endemic to the region like the lizard of Kangravalli and eight types of bats living in the cave, the fresh water crocodile and 123 types of birds that have made the Gupteswar forest their home.
Dr Shubhransu Nayak, Coordinator Biodiversity Board, emphasised on rules and regulation of the Biodiversity Heritage site, and Dr Arun Kumar Behera, District Fishery Officer, spoke about the local fish of the region and their significance, adding that because of Thai magure, and other alien species, local fish and aquatic species diversity has reduced.
Insisting on preventing more biodiversity loss, Dr. M M Hossain, Director MSSRF-BPTAbC, said that measures need to be taken to conserve the natural habitat. Dr Kartik Lenka highlighted the agro-biodiversity, especially in the context of climate change. Mrs. Padma Durua, Sarapanch Haldikunda Gram Panchayat, spoke about the application in gram sabha and ensured her support towards declaring the heritage site. Mr Arjuna Hantal one of the BMC member, also agreed to support the application.
A series of lectures on BMC formation, aims and objectives of the Biological Diversity Act, and responsibilities of the committee followed. Finally, all the scientist of Biodiversity Boards agreed to proceed with documentation for Guptaswar Saibapitha Jaibabibidha Aitihya Kendra as a Biodiversity Heritage Site. Odisha Biodiversity Board is extending support to take the petition forward.
On the second day, discussions were on strengthening of Biodiversity Management Committee of Koraput, Semiliguda and Pottangi, and the necessary action to be taken for the future to regulate the biological product masseuse and prevent the bio-piracy of the region. From Koraput Forest division Mr Uma Mahesh ACF, Koraput Forest Division, highlighted MSSRF’s work on biodiversity near Nactidangar, and establishing a forest nursery. He also elaborated the role of the forester and the department in formation and strengthening of BMC in the future.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.