Padamshri Prof. Pramod Tandon, CEO, Biotechnology Park, Lucknow today delivered a very innovative lecture on "Conservation of Biodiversity of North-East India Hotspot' here in the Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu
Recipient of Prestigious Padmashri Award for his distinguished contributions in the field of Science and Technology, Prof Tandon narrated his struggle for achieving excellence in the field of Plant Sciences. From a humble beginning in 1977 as lecturer in the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) he later rose to serve as the Vice-chancellor of the same University from the year 2005 to 2010.
Expert in the areas of Conservation Plant Biotechnology, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, In vitro Conservation of Plants, Molecular basis of rarity of plants, the distinguished and world renowned scientist made a stimulating presentation on various aspects of basic and modern day research. He informed that out of the 34 hotspots world over, Eastern Himalayas and Western Ghats are biodiversity rich Indian hotspots harbouring the unique and endemic plant species particularly the orchids.
"Of the 2, 70,000 plants existing globally, India is an abode to more than 45,000 plants species having multifarious potentialities", he said.
However, due to various natural disturbances and anthropogenic activities, nearly 15-20% Indian species are threatened and for the conservation of these, biotechnological tools were employed by Prof. Tandon's group for restoring and establishing some of them in their natural habitats.
Several successful recoveries of threatened plants were also highlighted by him in his pioneering research spread over the diverse plants such as Orchids, Nymphaea species, Khasi Pine (Pinus kesya), Insectivorous plants (Nepenthes, Drosera) and many others.
Interestingly, Prof Tandon was very candid in admitting that in fact it was the cultural diversity and the traditional wisdom existing among the tribal of North-East that led to the Innovation and Creativity in the Conservation of Biodiversity there.
Due to their Scientific interventions, germination protocols for nearly 200 economically plant species have been developed. Thousands of the saplings have been provided to the tribal women in Meghalaya who have undertaken entrepreneurship in the cultivation and marketing of these plants thereby earning their livelihood by sustainable means.
Prof. Tandon also highlighted that how their research has led to the identification of the in-vitro multiplication of the famous Naga King Chilli, popular as "Bhut Jolokia", the hottest chilli of the world.
During his interaction with the faculty, students and scholars, he exhorted upon the younger generation to follow their heart and apply their mind to contribute in the research with utmost dedication and zeal. He also showed his interest to visit some of the tribal belts of the North West Himalaya of Jammu and Kashmir to have firsthand interaction with the tribal who are the actually the treasure trove of basic traditional knowledge.