Organisational Structure

 

Although CIS started its journey in 1993, it was registered in December 2004 as a Society Organisation, with ecologist Dr. Debal Deb [CV] as its Founder-Chair, designer and entrepreneur Mr. Debashis Chatterjee as Secretary, chemist Mr. Partha Majumdar [CV], and environmental engineer and consultant Mr. Sanjay Srivastava [CV] as Executive Members. However,  CIS never renewed its registration, and continues to function as an independent forum, while Basudha was registered as a Trust in August 2009.

Since 2009, the Board of Trustees of Basudha governs all operations of CIS, including the farm and the Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation. The Board of Trustees, comprised by Dr. D. Deb (Chair), Mr. Avik Saha (Secretary), Mr. Tathagata Banerjee (Addl. Secretary), Dr. Mita Dutta (Treasurer) and Mr. Debdulal Bhattacharya (Member), have a long track record of active involvement in environmental protection and in various civic movements for biodiversity conservation, cultural activism, and social justice. They share a vision of building a more socially just society, and are committed to conducting honest scientific research, documentation, awareness campaign, and policy advocacy for protecting the biological and cultural heritage of the country, resist developmentality, and promote sustainable living.

The composition of the Board of Trustees is permanent – barring death or disability of members, who are accountable for all activities of CIS. CIS has not yet received any external financial support from any funding agency. All of its activities are fueled by contributions from its founder-members and donations from friends. In 1998, CIS, as a partner of Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology (RFSTE), New Delhi, established Vrihi, a folk rice gene bank — the first in eastern India. Vrihi distributes folk crop variety seeds among farmers to promote in situ conservation of rare crop varieties. Vrihi is the first and the largest non-governmental rice seed bank in eastern India.

Until 2010, CIS had its research station and demonstration farm Basudha at Binodbati village in Bankura district. However, the farm has been shifted to Kerandiguda village of Odisha’s Rayagada district. CIS engages a small, but effective, number of eminent experts in different disciplines of science, humanities and law in advocacy campaigns to influence national policies in biodiversity conservation and indigenous people’s rights. CIS periodically conducts public seminars and workshops on conservation of biodiversity, including crop genetic diversity, community forest management, biopiracy and intellectual property rights of the indigenous people, and farmers’ rights. CIS is a member of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forest. CIS works in collaboration with different NGOs in the fields of people’s innovations, conservation of species and habitats, research in ecoforestry, and campaign against bio-piracy and commercial release of untested genetically modified organisms.

Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation was founded in 2014, and is run entirely on donations from friends. Currently, Dr. D. Deb is the Director of this Laboratory, with Dr. Avik Ray and Dr. Manjari Sengupta working as Adjunct Scientists. Mr. Sanjib Chattopadhyay (Senior Research Assistant), Ms. Debarati Chakraborti (Research Assistant) and Priyabrata Roy (Research Assistant) are conducting frontier research in rice biochemistry and molecular biology as well as tissue culture of critically endangered plants for conservation.

Last Updated (Saturday, 01 June 2013 19:47)

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Deb’s Talk to Punjab Farmers: Transcript

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Dr. Philippe Laconte and Jean Remy wrote articles on Basudha's work on conservation and sustainability, in Reflets and Biodynamis: Cultiver la Vie.

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Basudha Lab regenerated a few seedlings using tissue culture method from seeds of the last specimen of Vitex glabrata, that existed in a roadside sacred grove in Chhandar village of Bankura district of West Bengal. This Critically Endangered tree was cut down in March 2016. The first seedling was successfully transplanted in Kerandiguda village, near Basudha farm, on November 18, 2016.

Deb’s new paper on Indigenous Conservation Ethos

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Deb's presentation at Sombath Symposium, Bangkok is now published here. Video of the symposium can be viewed here.

Basudha’s Work mentioned in OFAI Source Book

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Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.

Basudha Lab’s Report (Jan-Apr 2016) Published

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The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download

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Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.

Agroecology training in Chittagong, Bangladesh

April 12, 2016April 12, 2016
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.

34 Rice Landraces Rescued from Nagaland

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D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.

New publication: Biochar effect on crop productivity

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Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems journal mentions Basudha’s work

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Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21683565.2015.1025894  [Download PDF]

New Demonstration Farm in Kashipur, West Bengal

November 28, 2015November 28, 2015
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.

New Study Published Showing Metal Profiles of 130 Rice Varieties

September 14, 2015September 14, 2015
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.

400 Indigenous Farmers Joining Force to Save Heirloom Seeds

May 19, 2015May 19, 2015
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June. Kodisuru Gendabaju

22 Rice Landraces Rescued from Malkangiri District

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D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.

Biotechnology Lab for Conservation Opened in Aug 2014

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Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August.   [Download pdf]