Advisor Ladakh chairs the first meeting of Ladakh Biodiversity Council Directs for the immediate constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees

    Publish Date: 20 January, 2022

    Leh, January 19: Shri Umang Narula, IAS, Advisor to Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Union Territory of Ladakh, chaired the first meeting of the Ladakh Biodiversity Council (LBC) in Leh through virtual mode as per the Covid-19 guidelines. Mr Preet Pal Singh, IFS, member-secretary of the Council presented the agenda items.
    Emphasising the role of the Council in the preservation and conservation of the rich biodiversity of Ladakh, the Advisor desired that the establishment of BMCs and preparation of the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) should be accorded highest priority. The Council was informed that, at Panchayat level, 45 out of 95 BMCs in Leh district and 55 out of 98 BMCs in Kargil district had been constituted. In this context, the Advisor directed Secretary Rural Development to complete the constitution of the remaining BMCs within the next 15 days. It was also decided that the two Municipal level BMCs for Leh and Kargil municipalities should be constituted by the end of this month.
    The Council decided that an order will be passed by the Secretary Rural Development to nominate Panchayat Secretary as BMC Secretary and District Panchayat Officers, Leh and Kargil as Nodal officers for Leh and Kargil districts, respectively. It was also decided that an orientation workshop would be held for the aforesaid nominated officers regarding their role and responsibilities.
    The Council also approved the constitution of a committee headed by Dr Padma Gurmet, National Institute of Sowa Rigpa, Leh, to identify the potential floral species for State Flower and State Tree of UT of Ladakh. This committee would consult various stakeholders and present its report to the Council.
    The matter regarding hiring of staff, including Programme Coordinator, Technical Assistant and Office Assistant, for ensuring smooth functioning of the Council, was also discussed. It was decided that Technical Support Groups (TSGs) would be constituted to assist the BMC in formulating PBRs. In this context, the Principal Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Dr Pawan Kotwal requested the Council members to furnish their suggestions regarding expert members who could be members of the TSGs and stated that these bodies could include locals with in-depth knowledge of their biodiversity and students working in related fields.
    During the meeting, the Council also approved the proposal that the office of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Department of Wildlife Protection, UT Ladakh, would be designated as the office for the LBC.
    Ms. Tania Bhattacharya, CEO, The Celestial Earth, gave a presentation on the proposed State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Regarding the draft presented, the Council desired that all stakeholders and Administrative Secretaries be consulted for inputs and suggestions for preparing the Action Plan.
    The meeting of the council was attended by Principal Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Dr Pawan Kotwal; Secretary, Rural Development Department, Saugat Biswas; Chief Wildlife Warden/Member Secretary, Ladakh Biodiversity Council, Preet Pal Singh; OSD to Advisor to Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Union Territory of Ladakh, Mohd Taqi; Director, Defence Institute of High Altitude Research, Dr Om Prakash Chaurasia; National Research of Sowa Rigpa, Leh, Dr Padma Gurmet; Head, Ladakh Regional Centre, GBPNIHE, Leh, Dr Subrat Sharma; HOD, Zoology Department, Degree College, Kargil, Dr Javed Iqbal; Senior Programme Manager, Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, Jigmet Dadul; Project Associate, SECURE Himalaya, UNDP, Leh, Stanzin Namdol and representatives of The Celestial Earth.