Three Days National Seminar on Himalayan Medicinal Plants was inaugurated at Eliezer Joldan Memorial College, Leh, today.
Chief Guest of the inaugural session, Professor S. K. Mehta, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ladakh, shared his vision for promoting research opportunities among faculty and students. He underscored the untapped potential of Ladakh’s medicinal plants and acknowledged the valuable contributions of DRDO and Sowa Rigpa in preserving Ladakh’s rare medicinal plant species. Professor Mehta also highlighted the University of Ladakh’s commitment toward fostering learning and research opportunities, exemplified by their recent MoU signing with the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Chennai.
Guest of Honour, Padma Angmo, Commissioner Secretary HED, emphasized the significance of Ladakh’s unique and diverse plant resources. She stressed the need to conserve the region’s rich medicinal plants for the benefit of future generations, highlighting the importance of local awareness about these plants. She applauded the initiative taken by EJM College and suggested inviting students of Higher Secondary Schools to some of the sessions over the next two days.
Dr. Motup Dorjey, Director, Health & Medical Education and CEO of the State Medicinal Plant Board, UT Ladakh, elaborated on the board’s efforts in promoting and supporting the initiatives for preserving the natural habitat of endangered Himalayan medicinal plants. He also highlighted government-sponsored schemes that could benefit institutions and farmers alike, emphasizing Ladakh’s status as a hotspot for medicinal plants.
Dr. Om Prakash Vidyarthi, IFS Retd, Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, J&K, popularly called the “forest man of J&K,” shared interesting anecdotes about his introduction to the diverse species of medicinal plants in Changthang, Nubra, Leh, and Kargil. He stressed the importance of investing in the local habitat and the indigenous flora and fauna of Ladakh.
In her welcome address, Dr. Sameena Iqbal, Principal of EJM College Leh, underscored the significance of hosting a national seminar on Himalayan Medicinal Plants at EJM College. She emphasized the pivotal role such an event plays in enhancing the research capabilities of both faculty and students.
Dr. Konchok Dorjey, Assistant Professor of Botany and the Organizing Secretary of the seminar, shed light on the pressing need for extensive research, particularly concerning Ladakh’s traditional medicinal plants, which face the threat of extinction.
The seminar aims to provide a platform for emerging researchers and conservationists to engage in thoughtful discussions on the crucial aspects of Himalayan medicinal plant resources. The seminar also aims to raise awareness about the delicate ecosystem of Ladakh and explore strategies for its preservation. Over the course of the next two-day National Seminar, various sessions and expert speakers will delve into critical issues, conservation efforts, challenges, and the preservation of medicinal plants in Ladakh. A field trip is also scheduled on 28th of October.
The event, organized by the Department of Botany, is supported by the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India.