IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
A CONTROVERSY is raging between the
ministry of environment and forests
(MEF) and the Wildlife Institute of India
(WII), Dehradun, over the issue of bio-
patents. While sources within the MEE
believe that the WII has sold off India's
bio-diversity to the US, officials at the
institute vehemently deny the charge.
In early November, 1995, the WII
signed a five-year research project contract - "Management of Forests in
India for Biological Diversity and Forest
Productivity: an Ecosystem Perspective"
- with the us department of agriculture. It would cover approximately
23,000 sq km of forest area and would
cost a little less than Rs 1 crore.
According to S K Mukerjee, director, WII, the primary aim of the project is
to "map and measure our rich biodiversity". However, some MEE officials
feel that there is more to the project
than is apparent. "We did not have any
inkling of such a project being signed," a
senior bureaucrat told Down To Earth.
"We came to know of this only when the
WII sent their enhanced budget requirements. Wittingly or unwittingly, a copy
of the agreement came along with it.
When we went through the project we
realised it's implications," he said, on
request of anonymity.
WII officials expressed their
resentment about the allegations.
"Every agreement has a certain format
which includes a large number of
clauses," said Mukherjee. "Those
clauses that do not conform with the
project under consideration are subsequently deleted. The same happened in
this case. And the MEE had been
informed about this. I also have a covering letter from the us department of
agriculture which specifies that the
clauses have been deleted."
Contesting the patenting claim, V B
Savarkar, joint-director of the WII and
the project's investigator says, "The
project is purely and simply a transfer
of technology. We intend to create a
sustainable form of forest management
that would also help maintain the
biodiversity of the concerned area.
The US department of agriculture
has vast expertise in this field and we
are using their expertise for the benefit
of our forests."