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UGC to varsities: Survival of all species important

Education NewsThe move comes within a year of UGC banning dissections of animals on university and college campuses. As per the instructions, all universities in the country under its ambit including the Allahabad University, will now have to declare their biodiversity policy on their website to prevent any ambiguity on part of the scholars, researchers and students. The universities will also have to ensure strict compliance of the Biological Diversity Act by its teachers as well as by colleges affiliated or constituent to it.

The Act was passed in 2002 and was notified in 2004, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity that the country is party to. The Act, tailored to conserve and produce sustainable use of biological resources, has laid mandates on research and educational fraternity’s access to biological resources. As per its provisions, prior nod of the national biodiversity authority or the state biodiversity boards is required in certain cases. Non-compliance of the Act will constitute a cognizable and non-bailable offense.

In a letter sent to vice chancellors concerned, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu has drawn attention to the Act and the need for “equitable sharing of the benefits that accrue from the use of these resources and their associated knowledge”. It said that the biological diversity was a term used to describe diversity of life at gene species and eco-system levels.

The move has been welcomed by the AU researchers’ community. Head of biochemistry department, Prof S I Rizvi said, “With new computer-based simulation models and 3-D digital diagrams available now, use of animals for teaching purposes could easily be stopped”.

Even in research, having a well-defined policy on website of a university will help researchers mold their work accordingly. Many would be able to shift research of animal tissue culture from use of animals to just their cells while when inevitable, perhaps, departments would be able to share their use with due permissions. Such minimalistic approach will help keep balance in biodiversity intact that is important for survival of all species, Prof Rizvi added

Source: The Times of India

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