Govt lifts ban on extraction of minor forest produce

People Hail Decision; Extraction To Start Soon With Utmost Care: Mian Altaf


Srinagar, Jan 28: After giving rest period of about eight years, J&K Government has lifted ban on the extraction of medicinal plants and other minor forest produce (MFP) from the forest areas of the state.
The extraction of minor forest produce is a valuable business involving thousands of people across the state. In the year 2005, state government imposed a ban on the extraction, fearing extinction of some species.
“We have lifted ban on the extraction of medicinal plants and other minor forest produce, keeping in view the livelihood of people associated with the trade,” Forest Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.
“In 2005, experts had advised that extraction should be put on hold for some time, fearing extinction of some important species of herbs. Now extraction would be carried out with utmost care,” Altaf said. Forests in the state are home to around 300 species of medicinal and aromatic plants having huge business value.
Contractors and other people allied with the business were ruing the losses due to the ban. They said they had lost business worth crores of rupees due to the government decision.
“We suffered huge losses due to this ban. Though there were other ways to save the species from extinction but government carried on with the ban,” Bilal Ahmed Dar, a MFP extractor said.
“It is an appreciable step by the Forest Ministry that the ban has been lifted keeping the interests of the businessmen in view,” said Abdul Khaliq, another extractor.
Some of the aromatic plants found in Kashmir forests include Sonzal, Bunafsha, Datur, Michir Kean, Kal Vyothh, Mohr Kachh, Dyscorea Dhoop, Wild Rose, Pyrethrum, Lavender, Juniper Tethwan and the very popular Isbandh.
Thousands of people living in the remote mountainous forests of Kashmir used to earn their living by picking these herbs used to treat various ailments. The villagers and contractors would sell these herbs to pharmaceutical companies to earn their livelihood.
The Forest Minister said the extraction would now be carried out under strict rules and regulations, keeping the regenerative power of a particular area in view.
“We will issue notices for the extraction of MFP under strict norms so that the regeneration of the species is not affected,” Altaf said.
“The forest areas having potential of extraction of MFP will be put to auction soon,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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