The JK school education department is all set to have herbal gardens in 315 government schools and 12 District Institute of Education and Trainings (DIETs) in Kashmir.
A first of its kind, officials said, the project has been approved by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Government of India with a financial assistance for five years.
"NMPB will provide financial assistance of Rs 25000 to each school as maintenance grants for herbal gardens for the first year. Later the schools will get Rs 7000 for a period of next four years," officials said.
They said the idea was conceived by the department in September 2015 following which a decision was taken to set up herbal gardens in 15 schools on Pilot basis.
"The pilot project was a success and later department submitted a proposal to Sate Medicinal Plant Board to set up Herbal gardens in 315 schools and 12 DIETs including two in Ladakh. The proposal was later approved by NMPB as well," the officials said.
Set up in November 2000 by the Government of India, NMPB has the primary mandate of coordinating all matters relating to medicinal plants and support policies and programmes for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation.
"We have completed the work on Herbal gardens in 15 schools while as progress in other schools in going on," the officials said.
According to officials, the land requirement for setting up a herbal garden is 500 square meters.
Nodal officer herbal gardens Manzoor Javed said department has moved another proposal to State Medicinal Plants Board to set up herbal gardens in Jammu region.
"A proposal to set up herbal gardens in 150 schools and 10 DIETs of Jammu has been submitted to state medicinal plant board. "The proposal is yet to get the final approval by NMPB," he said.
He said the government has decided to implement the project in Higher Education department as well. "The herbal gardens in colleges will be used for commercial purpose given the availability of land within the campus," he added.
The officials said Government has started work on Herbal garden in Degree College Akhnoor which is spread over 40 kanals of land.
"The main purpose to set up herbal gardens in schools and colleges is to create awareness about medicinal plant and create opportunities of entrepreneurship among the students," nodal officer said.
He said NMPB will give maintenance grants of Rs 3 lacs to colleges for the first year and Rs 60,000 will be given per annum for next four years.