The Orissa government has decided to plant endangered medicinal plants across the state to prevent their extinction and meet demands of the ayurvedic industry.
The National Medicinal Plants Board has sanctioned Rs two crore to the state for plantation of endangered Ashoka trees and Rs three crore for Bruhat Panchamula species, deputy conservator of forest (State Medicinal Plants Board) Manoj Mohapatra said yesterday.
While Ashoka will be planted in 500 hectares, mostly in the coastal districts of the seven forest divisions, plantation of species like Bel, Gambhir, Lodha and Phana-phana would be undertaken in the next five years in 1000 hectares of five other forest divisions.
"These projects are aimed to save the medicinal plant species and prevent their extinction as well as to meet the demands of the ayurvedic medicine manufacturing industries in the country," Mohapatra said.
Plants of Ashoka and Bruhata Panchamula are in high demand in the ayurvedic medicine manufacturing industry.
The increasing commercial demand for medicinal plants has brought these species under threat, he said.
Since locals, specially members of the Vana Surakhya Samity, would be involved in this project, their livelihood would be maintained, Mohapatra said.
He was here to attend an ayurvedic medicine exhibition.
In addition to its mineral wealth, he said, Orissa is also rich in medicinal plant resources as estimates indicate that the state houses about 2,700 different species of flowering plants.