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, 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 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)