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Is coal a mineral or bio-resource?

MoEF, National Biodiversity Authority given more time on coal

Shashikant Trivedi  |  Bhopal 

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) have got a breather after the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) central zone bench at Bhopal granted those more time to come up with an answer if coal was a biological resource or a mineral.

The MoEF and NBA were to file a reply by Wednesday. However, acting on their plea for some more time, the NGT allowed those to file their reply by October 8.

Both MoEF and NBA are respondents in a petition filed to the NGT by a bio-diversity management committee (BMC) at a small village called Eklehara of Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh. The panel had moved NGT in May, seeking directives to the Western Coalfields to start sharing the benefits with the Eklehara BMC, as mandated under the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

The Eklehara BMC had pleaded with NGT to ask NBA to determine the exact percentage of the equitable benefit sharing so this could be made applicable to all concerned rationally and equally.

Prosecution under bio-diversity Act
In probably the first case of prosecution under the Biological Diversity Act, the NGT on Wednesday asked Bhopal-based Som Distilleries to give information desired by the state biodiversity board.

However, the NGT restrained the board from taking any coercive action against the company, including prosecution in the case. The board had filed a case in the court of chief judicial magistrate of Bhopal last month.

The court took cognizance of it and ordered to issue summons to the company on “sufficient ground for conviction.”

The State Biodiversity Board had issued notice to the company on March 13 this year and had asked it to furnish details under Section 7 of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 under which a company or manufacturer is required to furnish details about the products in case of any bio-resource is used.

“We had issued notices to them since they use grains, molasses and malt, etc., which falls under bio-resource definition,” Ramgopal Soni, member secretary, State Biodiversity Board, told Business Standard.

First Published: Thu, September 12 2013. 00:10 IST