Centre mulls herbal medicine units on banks of river Ganga in Uttarakhand

Centre mulls herbal medicine units on banks of river Ganga in Uttarakhand

 As part of NDA government's ambitious Clean Ganga project, Uttarakhand may soon open processing units of herbal medicines on the banks of the holy river, along with an 'Eco Task Force' of ex-servicemen who would be engaged in plantation activities.

Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and the Ministry of AYUSH are discussing a proposal in this regard, while the organic farming wing of the government is also likely to be roped in for the initiative, official sources said today.
"We are holding discussions with the ministry of AYUSH. We may have a Memorandum of Understanding (between the two ministries) for the purpose," an official said.

According to sources, the Eco Task Force is likely to start functioning within the next three months and it would be entrusted with three major responsibilities including prevention of dumping garbage into the river and planting saplings on the banks of Ganga.

As per the present plans, herbal saplings procured from the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun would be planted on the banks of river Ganga in Uttarakhand.

"While the Eco Task Force would be carrying out planting of saplings, the Ministry of AYUSH would establish herbal processing units in Uttarakhand.

"The Ministry of Water Resources would be rendering assistance in marketing the herbal products. The whole plan would take off by October 2016," another senior ministry source said, adding that the aim of the initiative is generation of job opportunities for the local population.

The proposed Force, a territorial army unit, consists of four battalions. Each battalion would be led by a Colonel level officer from the Defence Ministry and soldiers are ex-servicemen.

"In total, there would be about 1,600 personnel for the Eco Task Force. Funds to the tune of Rs 300 crore has been earmarked for the force for the first year," an official said.

Touted as the first-of-its-kind effort involving defence forces in cleaning a river in India, these battalions would be initially deployed in the most polluted stretches of Ganga.

"They would be deployed in stretches including Kanpur-Varanasi, Mathura-Vrindavan and Haridwar," the official said, noting that their services would be utilised in Delhi as well.

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