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October 30, 2013

Didi`s Dream Comes True – Government to set up Herbal Hubs in the State

Didi`s Dream Comes True – Government to set up Herbal Hubs in the State

To give shape to one of the chief minister`s dream projects, the state government has decided to set up herbal hubs across the state. Those who grow ayurvedic plants will sell these in the hubs, very much like the `krishak mundis` (farmer hubs) that have been proposed for each block.

The proposal to set up the herbal hubs was passed in the last state cabinet meeting and on Tuesday, the chief minister set up two committees — one comprising ministers and the other bureaucrats and herbal experts — to chart out comprehensive project reports to frame a herbal policy which will grant growers of ayurvedic medicinal plants a status similar to that of micro and smallscale enterprises.

The chief minister held a meeting with ministers Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Mukherjee and Swapan Debnath at Nabanna on Tuesday where the primary plans were discussed. “Herbal hubs will be set up in various places of the state for which two committees have been set up. The committees will prepare detail project reports,“ said commerce and industries minister Partha Chatterjee.

According to plans, farmers will be able to grow and sell medicinal plants all by their own. “It is the chief minister`s wish to develop herbal hubs so that a small-scale industry on Ayurveda could be set up in the districts,“ said a senior government official. Surveys will be conducted to identify where such proposed herbal hubs could be set up as the soil should be suitable to grow medicinal plants like tulsi, amla, haritaki, bel, etc. “The government is also mulling an idea of setting up an Ayurveda University in the state,“ said a senior government official.

According to plans that have been proposed and discussed, there are needs for the West Bengal State Medicinal Plants Board (WBSMPB) to have its branches in the districts so that farmers can get all their information required to grow medicinal plants. The plan includes setting up district-wise medicinal plant mandis, which will be open markets for farmers to sell the medicinal plants that they will grow.

Officials said there is also a need to come up with a decision so that all medicinal plant growers are listed with the government so that the government can learn more on the manufacture and supply on such plants. “Detail plans will be chalked up to develop the proposed herbal hubs so that more employment opportunity can be created, an official said.

At present, there are about 200-odd firms in the state engaged in manufacturing ayurvedic medicines. The WBSMPB has observed that the trend of cultivating medicinal plants in the state has been increasing, as cultivation of paddy and other cash crops has not been found to be profitable in some cases.

The article was originally published in The Times of India on October 30, 2013