It’s been in limbo since it was planned seven years ago owing to the fund crunch facing the Uttarakhand government but the project under which a number of biotechnology parks were to be set up to conserve the State’s ``precious herbal wealth’’ will now be revived.
``A move is underway to implement the project through public-private initiative’’, said Rajiv Chandra, secretary Science & Technology while admitting that that the fund crunch had come in the way of the project that had been planned three years after Uttarakhand came in to being in 2010.
Jagmohan Rana, Head of the State Bio-technology Programme, when contacted by Hindustan Times said once biotechnology parks were set up and started functioning they would be advantageous for Uttarakhand on two counts.
``First, biotechnology parks would come in handy in conserving the State’s fast dwindling herbal wealth through biotechnological intervention’’, he said adding, ``Besides, these (biotechnology parks) would be equipped with sophisticated systems required to prepare a number of medicines and other herbal products like cosmetics.’’
That apart, the proposed biotechnology parks would also help in employment generation besides conserving the Central Himalayan Region’s (Uttarakhand) extremely fragile eco-system, Rana said.
Chandra said the universities as well as the scientific institutes like Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) within the State would give all the R&D (Research and Development) back up the proposed biotechnology parks would require. ``Investments required for setting up biotechnology parks as well as their functioning would, however, be made by private parties’’, he informed.
Rana pointed out that out of a total of 500 medicinal plant species found in India around 200 (medicinal plant species) are found in Uttarakhand alone. Saying that most medicinal and ornamental plants found locally are, however, now getting extinct owing to the factors like climate change he said the proposed biotechnology parks would help in conserving these (herbal and medicinal plant species) through biotechnological intervention.
Giving details of such a move he said in this connection a survey of medicinal and herbal plants would be conducted in the State so that records of the fast dwindling medicinal and herbal plants could be maintained to initiate their conservation.
``Conservation of such threatened medicinal plant species would be carried out through biotechnological interventions like tissue culture technique or DNA sequencing’’, Rana said. Saying that such an intervention would also help increase the crop yield in the region he said, that would be possible by removing disease causing genes from the seeds of various crops.
Suggesting that the proposed biotechnology parks should be set up on a ``small but diversified’’ mode in rural areas he said that would ``fetch the marginalized hill farmers better price for their crops as they wouldn’t have to pay transportation cost, if these (biotechnology) parks equipped with agro units would be set up in rural areas.’’