New bill to regulate import of plants, its products

Those who import infected plants will be slapped with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh

Kathmandu, June 29

The amendment bill of the Plant Protection Act registered in the Secretariat of the House of Representatives has stipulated a fine of up to Rs 100,000 for anyone who imports infected plants or plant products.

The bill aims to make legal provisions for import and export of plants and plant products and for promoting trade in plants and plant products by adopting appropriate measures. The bill envisages a nine-member Plant Quarantine Committee led by secretary at the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Livestock Development to provide advice and suggestion to the government on policies related to quarantine of plants or plant products.

The functions, duty and power of the committee include providing consultation to the government for formulation of a national policy on plant health and quarantine; reviewing fee chargeable on the import, export, inspection and examination of plants or plant products; coordinating with private sector and governmental bodies involved in the import and export of plants and controlled pests; preparing a list of controlled pests; maintaining a roster of plant quarantine experts and approving standards on sanitation of plants or plant products.

Plant quarantine is a process of holding any plant or plant products in a specified place for the purpose of observing, testing, investigating, inspecting and examining whether such plants or plant products are healthy or not.

As per the bill, any person or organisation wishing to import plants, plant products, beneficial organisms or means for growing plants such as soil and moss shall have to obtain entry permit from the authority concerned.

For the purpose of inspecting plants, plant products and beneficial organisms, the ministry may designate any qualified employee as an inspector.

“Anyone who imports plants, plant products, beneficial organisms or soil without obtaining the entry permit shall be punished with a fine up to Rs 50,000,” the bill says. Similarly, any person importing infected plants or plant products shall be slapped with a fine of up to Rs 100,000.