GUWAHATI: Every government-run school, even those in the remotest parts of Assam, will henceforth have to document the flora and fauna found in the area as this would help in mapping and recording the state’s rich biodiversity with the help of experts and enhance knowledge.
With an objective of promoting the flora and fauna and rich biodiversity of the state, education minister Ranoj Pegu on Thursday launched the School Biodiversity Register (SBR) at the State Mission Office of Samagra Shiksha in the presence of principal secretary to the education department, B Kalyan Chakravarthy, and mission director, Samagra Shiksha, Assam, Roshni Aparanji Korati. The register will also empower to develop a baseline database for biodiversity so that proper assessment on various parameters such as endangered and extinct species can be done.
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The SBR, a brainchild of Chakravarthy, has been designed as a record of knowledge, perception and attitude of people about natural resources, plants and animals, their utilization and conservation in a village or a panchayat which would further form a database in every school where all common species of flora and fauna would be available.
“We have started SBR as schools are reopening with the decline in Covid cases. Training of teachers has started,” Chakravarthy told TOI.
He said plantation of saplings on the school premises would be encouraged because later these trees could become assets. Agarwood plantation, valued for perfume making, would be encouraged. “Plantations will add value to the schools. Some of the species are endemic to Assam,” Chakravarthy added.
He said an Agar sapling, costing about Rs 15 can yield Rs 50,000 over a period of seven years. The idea can be imitated in colleges as well, he said. Agarwood is described as liquid gold as the adhesive produced is used in the expensive perfume industry.
SBR will be maintained in all elementary and secondary schools under the state government. There will be a nodal teacher for facilitating the students to maintain SBR. The School Management Committee and School Management Development Committee as well as local community members will also help in the process. Documentation of the available species would be done with photographs and videographs. A photo album will be maintained in schools.
Pegu stressed on the importance of biodiversity as it is our heritage that should be protected. He said, “This programme will help to develop a biodiversity management plan of the area to conserve the existing and rare endangered threatened species.”