Himachal promoting cultivation of medicinal plants

Shimla : Himachal Pradesh is promoting the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants by encouraging farmers to cultivate them, the government said on Sunday.

Under the National AYUSH Mission, the government is providing financial assistance for which farmer clusters have been set up. To get the benefit of the financial assistance, each cluster must have at least two hectares of land.

A cluster can be of three adjoining villages of 15 km radius. Mortgaged land can also be used for cultivation of the medicinal plants, a government spokesperson told IANS.

The National AYUSH Mission is providing financial assistance of Rs 100 lakh for the cultivation of 'atis', 'kuth', 'kutki', 'sugandhvala', 'ashwagandha', 'sarpgandha' and 'tulsi', besides Rs 40 lakh for the construction of two storage warehouses and two drying sheds.

State Ayurveda Director Sanjeev Bhatnagar said Rs 75.54 lakh has been sanctioned by the Ayush Mission in 2017-18 for the medicinal plants in the state.

He said the National Medicinal Plants Board has approved the establishment of a regional-cum-facilitation centre in Mandi district's Jogindernagar.

The Centre will promote the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants in five states and one Union Territory -- Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Himachal Pradesh has unique geographical conditions and there are areas ranging from 200 to 7,000 metres high.

Due to diverse climatic conditions in the area, numerous types of herbaceous plants are available here.

Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Sirmaur, Kangra, Solan and Mandi districts fall under the sub-tropical Shivalik hills and about 160 species of medicinal plants are cultivated in this zone.

Tribal districts like Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, some areas of Kangra and Shimla districts located at an altitude of over 2,500 meters produce useful medicinal plants.

These plants include 'patis', 'batsnabh', 'atis', 'tragen', 'kirmala', 'ratanjot', 'kala jeera', 'kesar', 'somlata', 'jangli heeng' and 'khursani ajwain'.