Kashmir Indepth

Govt to protect medicinal plants in JK

Arjumand Shah

Srinagar, May 15 (KINS): The Jammu and Kashmir administration has directed concerned officers to take necessary measures for conservation of rare medicinal plants.

Kashmir has become a fertile ground for smugglers as it is a rich resource of medicinal plants, which are used in aromatherapy and cosmetics as well as medical treatments.

There are 571 different kinds of medicinal plants available in the state out of which some having high commercial value.

However, several medicinal and aromatic plant species like Trillium is at the verge of extinction.

Another medicinal plant having huge international value is Artemisia (Wormwood), locally known as Tethwan. These could be found in Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Gananpeer and several parts of Budgam and Kupwara in Kashmir and is widely being smuggled.  Other medicinal plants smuggled from Kashmir include ‘Kutki’, which is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and has decreased in the valley.

An official told news agency KINS that that LG Murmu -led administration has expressed concern over extinction of several rare medicinal plants. “The authorities have directed officers to take necessary measures for preservation of medicinal plants,” he said.

According to an official document, the government had decided to constitute district level committees of experts for preservation of endangered plant species in the state.

The committee was asked to look how to develop the medicinal plants sector without affecting the environment.

Similarly, the government had also constituted a nine member committee headed by Secretary Health and Medical Education Department to monitor and evaluate all activities under J&K State Medicinal Plants Board and for effective implementation of the schemes for preservation of medicinal plants in the state.

“The government has been unhappy with the performance of JK State Medicinal Plants Board for failing to preserve the rare medicinal plant species. These committees were constituted to ensure rare plant species are protected,” sources said.

Earlier in 2005, the J&K government had imposed a ban on the extraction of medicinal plants, fearing extinction of some species.

One of the top officials in the forest department told KINS that government was taking several measures for preservation of medicinal plants. (KINS)

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