Port Blair, Dec. 21: A 3-day National seminar on ‘Innovative Technologies for conservation and sustainable utilization of Island Biodiversity’ to mark the centenary year of Indian Science Congress Association was organised by ISCA Port Blair Chapter (CARI) at its auditorium here today. The Lt Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, PVSM, AVSM inaugurated the seminar by lighting the ceremonial oil lamp. He also released a book of abstract and a souvenir book on the National seminar. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor stated that the A & N Islands are a global biodiversity hot spot and habitat to some of the unique and rare endemic species found nowhere in the world. Apart from terrestrial ecosystems, the Islands also have rich marine ecosystems, such as mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds. The rich marine biodiversity includes different species of marine mammals, variety of corals & sea shells and thousands of other marine life forms.

He further stated that the major challenges to the conservation of biodiversity are the invasion of alien species, habitat destruction, over exploitation and anthropogenic activities. Due to rapid population growth and unsustainable use of living resources, the rich biodiversity of our islands today stands threatened and remedial action is urgently required. The first step in biodiversity conservation is systematic cataloguing, documentation and sensitization of the general public on the significance of conservation.

The Lt Governor also lauded Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) for doing commendable work in documenting the Island bio-diversity and for its contribution in developing modern technologies which are successfully being practiced by the farmers of the Islands.

He further stated that “we have to draw a vision wherein we have to strike a balance between developmental activities for the benefit of the people and preserving the rich bio-diversity in order to ensure that both development and preservation take place side by side”. For this, a Committee comprising of CARI, Forest Department and the Administration will be formed to work out a road map for the preservation of the Islands rich Bio-diversity in the coming years. Development process for the sustainable growth in the Islands will take place keeping in mind the aspect of preserving our ecology, marine bio-diversity, endemic species of flora and fauna in a collective manner with the participation of all concerned agencies”, he said. He further stated that it will be a challenge for the Scientists to augment the capacity of indigenous source of living by introducing new items which might take generations for acceptance. 

In his address, Dr. S. Edison, Former Director, Centre Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Trivandrum emphasised on the need for utilization of the rich bio-diversity of the Islands by practising the cultivation of tuber crops as food security crops for catering the growing food requirements of the increasing population of the Islands. He also released a book on high yielding varieties of horticulture crops brought out by CARI.  

In his address, Dr. A.K. Singh, Vice Chancellor, RVSKVV, Gwalior stated that the huge tourist inflow, reckless development, over exploitation of resources and climate change can adversely impact the rich bio-diversity of the islands. It is right time, proper preservation measures need to be taken to protect the unique bio-diversity of the islands. He also released a technical book on Noni cultivation on the occasion. 

Earlier, the Director, CARI, Shri Dam Roy welcomed the chief guest and others while Dr. D. R. Singh, Convenor, ISCA Port Blair Chapter and NSCIB-12 proposed the vote of thanks.