The Birth of IBSD
For quite a few years since the Rio-Summit, 1992 there have been discussions at various local forum about the requirement of a capable institution to take care of the rich biodiversity of Manipur and its surrounding areas. The inclusion of the North East Region in the list of Mega-biodiversity hot-spots of the world caused an ever increased fillip to the researchers, resource planners, environmental enthusiasts and the local think- tanks about stopping depletion of biodiversity in the region and finding scientific ways of sustainable uses of bioresources.
Bio-industrialists and traders exploit the ignorance and poverty of the tribal population in hunting and illegal trading of the wild flora and fauna of the region. The situation is bad enough to warn us that before we can fully understand, assess and plan a sustainable use of the Bioresources in the North Eastern Region, its habitat exposed to the world as a mega-biodiversity hot-spot is likely to be destroyed in no time.
The concern of the local scientists and the government about safeguarding our precious wealth, “the biodiversity” is therefore not unfounded. In fact, this impelled the Govt. of India to establish the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development at Imphal for research and management of Bioresources of the region.
In November 1999, 5 (five) Ministers of Manipur with top Government officials, scientists and heads of universities in the State in an unified voice informed a high level delegation of officials and scientists from Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) Govt. of India about the strong desire of the local people for a bioresources institute in the state.
The Govt. of Manipur apprised the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India of the same in December 1999 and subsequently wrote a request letter to Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Secretary, DBT, GoI in the same month for setting up a bioresources institute at Imphal. Meanwhile, a meeting of local scientists was organized at Imphal on January 11, 2000 to identify the biodiversity related research priorities. Prof. H. Tombi Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University, Canchipur, Imphal, Prof. S. S. Bhagel, Vice Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal and 7 (seven) more scientists and scientific NGOs took part in the meeting. The meeting constituted a sub-committee for drafting a concept proposal which incorporates a diverse range of project areas prioritized for the North Eastern Region with special reference to Manipur. The concept proposal was submitted to DBT later in February 2000.
Afterwards, a meeting was held on April 10 and 11, 2000 in New Delhi for a threadbare discussion with DBT about the proposal. Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Secretary, DBT, GoI, in the meeting agreed in principle the setting up of the proposed Institute.
Manipur Science & Technology Council (MASTEC) which took painstaking efforts right from the beginning, convened a preparatory meeting of 31 scientists of Manipur drawn from the two Universities, several Institutions and Government Departments for the proposed Institute on April 22, 2000. The following research thrust areas were identified in the meeting:
– Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
– Orchids and Bamboo
– Freshwater Bioresources and aquaculture
– Microbial Bioresources
– Biocides and biocontrol agents
– Natural Products chemistry
– Agro-horticultural bioresources
– Bioinformatics and documentation
– Ethnobiological studies
– Insects bioresources
Further, a core committee of experts was constituted in the meeting to prepare an approach paper about the proposed institute. This approach paper, which contained the ideas and information, was placed before the meeting with a high level DBT delegation led by Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, which visited Manipur during May 4–6, 2000. The delegation also had separate discussions with the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary of Manipur. The meeting recommended the establishment of the National Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (NIBSD) at Imphal as an autonomous Institute under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India registered under the Society Registration Act. The mission of the Institute is bioresources development and their sustainable use through biotechnological interventions for the socio-economic growth of the region. The organizational pattern would include a) Society, b) Governing Council, c) Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), d) Finance Committee (FC).
A proposal for establishing the National Institute at Imphal was submitted by Govt. of Manipur to DBT for consideration. The proposal was placed before the 2nd meeting of National Bioresources Development Board (NBDB) held in June 2000 and subsequently approved by the Govt. of India in Jan. 2001.
IBSD was registered on the 26th April, 2001 under the Manipur Societies Registration Act, 1989. The State Government has provided the newly constructed Science & Technology Building at Takyelpat on Lease basis to the Institute to start with. The State Government has also taken a decision to provide 15 acres of suitable land free of cost and has further committed that once the Institute gets itself established, experimental fields in different agro-climatic zones in Manipur can be arranged later on. Thus the birth of IBSD took place at Takyelpat Institutional Area, Imphal – 795001 (Manipur) on the 26th April, 2001.
The First Meeting of IBSD Society was held on 18-05-2001 at CSIR Vigyan Kendra, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi.