Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi presided over the review meeting of H.P State Biotechnology Task Force organized by the department of Environment, Science and Technology, here today.
He said that Himachal Pradesh has succeeded in getting a major project “Skill Vigyan Programme in Biotechnology” through H.P Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) from Department of Biotechnology, Union Ministry of Science & Technology to the tune of Rs. 4.32 crores for a period of three years. This is a new skill development programme for providing high quality hand-on training in tools and techniques in multi-disciplinary areas of biotechnology for 10+2 students and graduates in biotechnology in partnership with state councils of science and technology. He said Himachal Pradesh is among the six states of the country where this project was being implemented.
Dr. Baldi said that the issues of the farmers pertaining to their crops and cattle should be resolved through biotechnology. He said that high breed crops are the prime demand of the farmers thus emphasis should be made on development and supplying of high breed seeds of major crops, along with focus on improvement on the existing variety of crops.
He directed the department of Biotechnology to constitute a sub-group consisting of Research and Development (R&D) institutions, field or extension offices and farmers so that the issues of farmers regarding their produce could be taken up and resolved through research. He also directed the department to constitute another sub-group for improvement of Bio-Technology Policy-2014.
The Chief Secretary directed the R&D institutes to prepare a proposal and presentation on possibilities of aromatic crop cultivation, saffron production, Asafoetida (hing) production and cannabis cultivation in the State as these crops could provide new ventures to improve the farmers economy. He also directed these institutions to focus on variety of crops with high productivity. He said that emphasis should be made on transmitting the existing technology for the benefit of farmers.
It was informed in the meeting ICAR-CPRI has developed Late Blight and Potato Cyst Nematode resistant potato varieties suitable for the climatic conditions of Himachal Pradesh through marker assisted selection. The Chief Secretary directed the ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute to make this variety available at the earliest and to promote the variety amongst the farmers.
Director Environment, Science and Technology D.C. Rana, Vice Chancellor, CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya Professor A.K. Sarial, retired Vice Chancellor Professor P.L. Gautam and other members of the Task Force Committee were also present in the meeting.