Report by Meghalaya Biodiversity Board, 05/10/2020
Additional affidavit by the Meghalaya Biodiversity Board in the matter of Chandrabhal Singh Vs Union of India & Others in Original Application No. 347 of 2016. The NGT March 18, 2020 had directed all the states and union territories to place on record the present status of compliance of directions passed by the NGT vide orders August 9, 2019 and March 18, 2020 - related to constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) and preparation of the People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) by the BMC so constituted.
Around 4850 out of 6459 BMCs have been been constituted and the rest would be constituted by the end of this year. However, preparation of an exhaustive PBR documenting all the fauna, flora, aquatic life of such a dense biodiversity hotspot and peculiar topographical and geographical conditions of Meghalaya - having places where humans are yet to set their foot is taking time.
The short timeline to complete the preparation of all PBRs for other parts of the country was not practical and feasible for Meghalaya, the report said.
Furthermore, the present situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed also impeded the pace of constitution of BMCs. Physical visit to each of the 6459 villages of the state, most of them inaccessible by paved road was difficult and takes more time.
Similarly, preparation of the PBRs also require physical visits of the BMC members to their respective areas and consultation with local people. These physical visits got restricted due to COVID-19.
The report requested the NGT for modifying its order in respect of Meghalaya to the extent of permitting time till March 31, 2021. This would help in completing the task of constitution of BMCs in Meghalaya and preparation of PBRs and waive off the cost imposed vide NGT order August 9, 2019.
Note: The report of October 5, 2020 was uploaded to the NGT site on October 20, 2020