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The Crown of India is its first herbal haven
New Delhi/Srinagar, Dec 1 - Being the offspring of the Himalayan region, Jammu and Kashmir is known for its flora and fauna diversity. For long J&K's medicinal and herbal plants have been important sources of income for the locals. The high altitude of the region creates the right conditions for growing some of the world's rare varieties of herbs.
The Ministry of AYUSH is working on a swing of projects to promote the world's holistic and oldest healthcare system in the Union Territory (UT). They are implementing two schemes in the UT: i) conservation of medicinal plants in the forests; and ii) developing herbal gardens at homes to promote using herbs in daily life. The advantages of cultivating herbal plants in J&K are multifold:
* This terrestrial Paradise endowed with incredible diversity of medicinal plants since ancient times
* Diverse agro-geo climate conditions
* Potential of high altitude medicinal plants of high commercial value
* There is access to critical utilities at no cost
* Lowest Power Tariffs regime
* Government to offer zonal relaxation to investors
* Government and NGO support to Institutes developing conservation technologies
* More than 300 medicinal species found in J&K
The Directorate of School Education Kashmir also has set up 100 herbal gardens at schools sponsored by the Union Government and recommended by J&K Medicinal Plants Board. Here are some plants of high commercial and medicinal value from various regions of the UT: a) Baramulla - i) Innula racemosa (Puskarmool), ii) Piccrorhiza kurroa (Kutki); b) Bandipora - i) Aconitum heterophyllum (Atish), ii) Arnebia benthami (Ulte Bhutkesh); c) Ganderbal - i) Rheum emodi (Indian Rhubarb), ii) Berberis aristata (Daru Haldi); d) Srinagar - i) Viola odorata (Sweet Violet), ii) Rheum emodi (Indian Rhubarb); e) Pulwama/Shopian - i) Podophyllum hexandrum (Bankakri), ii) Piccrorhiza kurroa (Kutki), iii) Crocus Sativus (Saffron); f) Anantnag/Kulgam - i) Viola odorata (Sweet Violet), ii) Piccrrorhiza kurroua (Kutki), iii) Podophyllum hexandrum (Banwangun); g) Kupwara - i) Sausseria Costus (Kuth), ii) Taxus baccata (Yew); h) Jammu/ Udhampur/Reasi - i) Aloe vera, ii) Sarpagandha, iii) Giloe, iv) Harad; i) Kathua/Samba - i) Ashwagandha, ii) Aloe vera, iii) Amla, iv) Terminalia bellerica (Baheda); j) Doda/Ramban/ Kishtwar - i) Poshkermool, ii) Piccrorhiza kurroa (Kutki), iii) Swertia chiraita (Chiraita), iv) Sausseria costus (Kuth), v) Podophyllum hexandrum (Bankakri), vi) Rheum emodi (Indian Rhubarb).
To further popularize usage and value of this plan, a 100-Crore project 'The Institute of High Altitude Medicinal Plants' is being established at Baderwah in Doda district. The Post-Harvest Management Centre for Medicinal Plants at Bhaderwah will have facilities for drying, sorting, processing, certification, packaging and scientific storage of herbal raw materials to secure farmers a better price. It will link with the local Agriculture University to provide Research and Development backup in cultivation, post-harvest management, and marketing including e-market support to farmers. The institute will be first of its kind in the Indian subcontinent. Farmers in the area will also be imparted education on herbal plants generating employment avenues. The Ministry is also developing seed Germplasm centres to provide quality seeds to farmers and institutes, micro processing units, mandis and storage godowns for the seeds. All these programs are aimed to enhance the socio economic status of the people.
Robust support structure will be provided by IIIM J&K, SKUAST JK, University of Jammu & Kashmir (Botany & Biotechnology Department), State Forest Research Institute, and Drug Testing Laboratory to develop high value aromatic Lavender, Tall Marigold, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, Rose, and Java Citronella. The investment opportunities for outsiders are ample viz. marketing of these plants, in processing and value addition units situated in 20 districts, in the establishment of herbal manufacturing units; and in Herbal Tourism.
Ministry of AYUSH is looking to set up and restore: 94 AYUSH units, 659 Primary Health Centres, Ayurvedic Dispensaries, 284 Unani Dispensaries, 2 Ayurvedic Hospitals, and 2 Unani Hospitals.
The Government of India has sanctioned: an Ayurvedic Medical College at Akhoor Jammu (Rs 16.19 crore), a government Unani Medical college and Hospital at Ganderbal Kashmir (Rs 32.50 crore), and 50-bedded integrated AYUSH hospitals at Kupwara, Kulgam, Kishtwar, Kathua and Samba.
Their aim is to publicize J&K as Medical Tourism destination with the upcoming six specialised Ayush wellness centres at Katra, Patnitop, and Mansar area of Jammu, and Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonmarg areas of Kashmir.
The Centre's vision for J&K is to establish a holistic wellness model and to provide informed choice on ancient traditional Indian medicine to the public. They want to reduce the dependency of Indians on modern medicine and focus on better health and lifestyle through traditional remedies, which has its roots in ancient India. With the pipelined funds and growing infrastructure, J&K is sure to secure the title of the world's largest Herbal Tourism destination.
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