Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sri Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for environment and forest, conceded on Tuesday that the ecology of of the country was being threatened due to the thrust on economic growth and called for a balance between the two.
Expressing shock over mindless deforestation, he said lately he had come to know that a 600-acre mangrove was earmarked for clearing up to construct an airport. Several similar developments came to his notice.
“It should have been raining here (in Andhra Pradesh) today. What happened to the monsoon? We know what is happening to the Himalayan glaciers. The situation is grim”, he warned.
The minister who took charge of his portfolio on May 29 said that a target had been set to increase the green cover in the country to 33 per cent from the present 23 per cent in the next 10 years. The country, he added, while working on increasing GDP, should focus on enhancing GPG, that is Green Product Growth to 9 per cent per annum.
Ramesh was speaking at the third and final meeting of an expert group on traditional knowledge of biological diversity at the MCR Institute of Human Resources Development, which was inaugurated by chief minister Y S Raj a s e k h a r a Reddy.
The minister said that India was losing out on patenting of its biological products to Europe and the US. There are plans to make a traditional knowledge digital library (TKDL) with over two lakh formulations on native medicines accessible to the West. Once the entities in the West know what India already has in its TKDL, they would be careful in patenting them. He asked the experts to expand the TKDL base by incorporating the oral tradition.

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