Shillong, Sep 20 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang today stressed the need to establish herbal gardens for the purpose of propagating medicinal plants.
''A concerted approached has to be made to encourage and promote the use of herbal medicines and harness the economic potential of the resource in a sustainable manner,'' he said while inaugurating the two-day National Seminar on 'Biodiversity:Herbal Medicine' here.
He informed that the government had set up the Meghalaya State Medicinal Plant's Board to promote development of medicinal plants in the state with financial assistance of National Medicinal Plant's Board.
Mr Lapang said the floral bio-diversity of the country was estimated at 45,000 plant species with more than 15,000 having proven medicinal value, adding that North East was one of the 25 identified bio-diversity hotspots of the world with Meghalaya having 850 species of medicinal plants.
He, further, said the traditional method of curing ailments through herbs and medicinal plants had been practised by the people in Meghalaya since time immemorial.
The chief minister also said medicinal plants in the state offer the potential for economic activity to a large section of the rural population.
North Eastern Hills University, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Pramode Tandon informed that more than 50 per cent of the total number of species of medicinal plants of the sub-continent was found in these regions.
However, he felt that the precious reserve of bio-diversity was being steadily reduced and eroded by biotic factors operating in these regions.
The plant genetic resources were also getting depleted at an alarming rate due to deforestation, shifting cultivation, over-exploitation and irrigation projects being established to develop these areas, he added.