The State Government is planning to set up a separate department for Ayush, for the administration of the Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine, Health Minister V S Sivakumar has said.
Speaking at the second session of a seminar on ‘Conservation of our traditional medicinal plants’ to sensitise mediapersons and people’s representatives organised under the aegis of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and State Medicinal Plant Board here, he said that the Central Government had started allotting substantial funds for the development of these sectors at the national level.
He said that Kerala would benefit greatly once the department is set up as there would be huge Central assistance for this sector.
The Minister said that the State Government has plans to plant medicinal plants in all schools in the state. Efforts have already been made to plant medicinal plants on all government office premises.
Earlier, inaugurating the seminar, Tourism and SC and Backward Classes Welfare Minister A P Anil Kumar said that Kerala which was considered the home of Ayurvedic system of medicine is now lagging behind in the production and export of medicinal plants. He pointed out that China had become the larger exporter of medicinal plants. ‘’Now our contribution in the sector is very low. We are not exploiting our potential. Production and export of medicinal plants could be a major source of income,’’ he said.
Participants at the seminar pointed out that the shortage of medicinal plants was further aggravated by the NREGP workers cleaning up the waysides in connection with NREGP works. A large number of medicinal plants have been lost in the process.
However, they expressed the hope that the manpower being used in the NREGP scheme could be utilised to plant medicinal plants and thereby enhance their income and also the availability of medicinal plants.
Dr Hareendran Nair, MD, Pankajakasthuri group, spoke on the topic ‘Ayurveda industry and medicinal plants’.
K G Sreekumar, CEO, State Medicinal Plant Board, spoke on the activities of the Board. N Padmakumar, research officer, National Medicinal Plant Board, Dr K Prathapan, Planning Board member C P John and others spoke.
Awards were distributed to Dr P Sujanapal, Dr H Nagesh Prabhu, Dr K S Rajithan and Dr O L Pius at the function.
KUWJ district president Siby Kattampally welcomed the gathering. Secretary Suresh Vellimangalam proposed the vote of thanks.