BHADERWAH, Sept 25: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that a small town like Bhaderwah will gain national identity through Medicinal Plants Institute which is going to be the first of its kind and Jammu & Kashmir will be known all over the Indian sub-continent because of this Institute.
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While laying the Foundation Stone of Post-Harvest Management Centre in the premises of the “National Institute of High Altitude Medicinal Plants” here, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the institute which deals with research, growth and production of high altitude Himalayan medicines could have been set up in any of the Himalayan States including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand or Arunachal Pradesh, but it is a matter of pride and prestige for Jammu & Kashmir, and more so for district Doda, that this is being set up at Bhaderwah.
As a result, he said, in the times to come, Bhaderwah will be a centre of attraction for researchers, scholars and all those seeking treatment through herbal remedies. This will not only promote revenue and employability but could also become a means of medical tourism, in addition to holiday tourism for which Bhaderwah is already known because of its scenic beauty, the Minister added.
Dr. Jitendra Singh said that this development has placed Bhaderwah on the National Map giving it a national identity. He said that the purpose of establishing the Centre was to develop facilities for drying, sorting, processing, certification, packaging and scientific storage of herbal raw materials produced and collected by local people, so as to have value addition and better price to farmers. He said that the PHM Centre shall also play a key role in marketing support using e-market place.
UT of Jammu & Kashmir in general and Bhaderwah -Doda region in particular,Dr Jitendra singh said, had a great potential for cultivation of many Himalayan medicinal plant species which have a good domestic as well as global market demand. He said that the people of Jammu & Kashmir have traditionally been engaged with cultivation and trade of medicinal plants and this activity can play an important role in increasing income of farmers and giving employment to local youth. It was a long pending demand of people to have Post Harvest Management facilities in the area, so that a large number of farmers and collectors of the villagers residing in Chenab region could benefit from new Agro Techniques for cultivation and emerging technology in processing of medicinal plants and herbal products. He added that the medicinal Plant Post Harvest Management Centre is expected to develop linkage with local Agro-Research Centre of Agriculture University to provide Research and Development backup in cultivation, post harvest management and marketing support to farmers.
Elaborating further, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the development would help in promoting medical and scientific tourism in Doda- Bhaderwah and also provide a fillip to tourism that is called Mini Kashmir because of its scenic beauty. He said that the combination would help promote domestic and international tourism in the area. He said that the choice of Bhaderwah for the Centre was an intentional effort to boost the overall economy of the region. He further said that the development had provided a national identity to Bhaderwah and the combination of Medical Colleges of Doda, Udhampur and Kathua along with the medicinal research facilities at Bhaderwah would ensure overall development in the region.
While talking about the developmental initiatives in the region Dr Jitendra Singh mentioned about the Degree colleges being established even in the remotest area of Doda -Bhaderwah and overall in the UT. He said that to ensure inclusive development and regional balance Degree Colleges were being set up in far off places like Padder, Marmat, Kashtigarh etc. He said that fast tract development was taking place on several power projects in the region like Ujh in Kathua and PakalDul and Kiru in Kishtwar that provided evidence of the seeds of development reaching far and wide in the UT of J&K.
Other developmental initiatives included first Biotech Park in Kathua , first of its kind Highway Villages in Kathua and Udhampur, first Seed Processing plant at Kathua and the like. He said that many areas of J&K that were hitherto left out of the developmental fold have been experiencing fast track development in the last 6 years. On the occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhayay , he reiterated the commitment of the Government towards Antyodaya-the last man in the queue.
Dr Jitendra Singh, while e-inaugurating the Wellness Centres in various parts of J&K said that the present Covid Pandemic outbreak has proved that the well accepted allopathic system of medicine is not all-sufficient for dealing with prevalent diseases. He said that more and more people were turning to the traditional system of Medicines for increasing immunity and improving their overall health in a holistic manner. He thus said that there was a need to look at developing the health sector in an integrated manner for which key role will be played by 194 wellness centres in J&K, the work on which is underway. He added that Jammu & Kashmir will set an example by establishing some model AYUSH HWCs to achieve the goal of comprehensive health coverage through holistic integrative approach.
While speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State, AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naikji said that the development of the Post Harvest Centre would improve the quality of output and help in boosting the farm incomes. It would also promote employment generation for local youth and encourage them to open small processing units for value addition. Regarding the establishment of Wellness Centres in J&K, Yesso Naikji said that the Ministry of AYUSH had ensured a support of 12.81 crore to UT of J&K. He said that 5 AYUSH Hospitals and one AYUSH College had been established in the UT in the last 4 years and a Unani College was also being established in Kashmir to promote integrated healthcare in the UT.
Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education Atal Dulloo and Joint Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH Roshan Jaggi joined the foundation laying through video conferencing while DC Doda Sagar Doifode and Director ISM (AYUSH J&K) Dr Mohan Singh attended the function from Bhaderwah.