Kathmandu, July 23
The government has drafted the Plants Bill, 2016 to make necessary legal provisions for the study, research, identification, protection, conservation and sustainable management of indigenous plants.
The Bill, which is under consideration at the legislature-parliament, says all plants and plant resources available within Nepal shall be under the ownership of the government and no one shall be permitted to claim the ownership of such resources.
The Department of Plant Resources under the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation will develop a list of indigenous plants, and protect and conserve them.
“No one shall sell, distribute and import indigenous plants and plant resources, and claim the patent thereof unless otherwise prescribed by the department,” says the law. Similarly, anyone willing to carry out study on human, animal or commercial purpose of plants and plant resources will be required to obtain licence from the department.
“Any person or organisation that wishes to collect sample of plants for research or grow plants shall also obtain licence from the department,” it reads. The department will remain as the sole authorised agency to identify plants and plant resources.
The law has also cleared the deck for the establishment of botanical garden in any part of the country for the purpose of protection, conservation and management of plant resources. Such botanical garden many create seed bank for the protection of genetic source of plant species. As per the law, the government may declare any area of the country as special plants zone by specifying its four corners for the protection and conservation of specific plant species. The government may also establish a National Herbarium under the department.
The bill for the first time has envisaged the provision of Herbal Medicine Research Centre for the purpose recommending commercial farming of herbal medicines. An 18-member plants and plant resources management council led by the minster for forest and soil conservation will be formed to formulate national policies for the study, research, development, conservation and utilisation of plants and plant resources.
“Any one in contravention of the law will be liable to imprisonment of up to five years or up to Rs 100,000 fine or both depending on the gravity of the offence,” states the draft bill.
A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.