Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fancy Name, Little to Show

Sajad looks into the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Srinagar

(Mr. Sajad Kralyari, 28, was born in Kralyar, Srinagar. He had his early schooling at the General Public Mission (GPM) School, and his higher secondary education from the Government High School. He completed his B.Sc. from the Gandhi Memorial College, Rainawari, Srinagar, and Master's degree in journalism from the Media Educational Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir in 2008. He subsequently did a brief stint in New Delhi before returning as a correspondent for the Rising Kashmir, working on business and economy related stories.)

Medicinal Aromatic Plant centre in Valley cries for help

Srinagar: The Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM)-Srinagar, the only centre for promoting Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) in Kashmir is crying for help as lack of infrastructure and manpower is hampering growth of MAPs in Kashmir.

With few scientists and little financial help from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - the premier industrial R&D organization in India, IIIM Srinagar provides technical know-how and quality planting material to farmers.

“The institute can change the economic scenario of Kashmir as it can help to bring more waste land under cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants. However, with only 3 scientists, not much can be done,” said Head IIIM-Srinagar Dr A S Shawl.

The officials at the institute said that climatic condition of Kashmir favours cultivation of aromatic plant, but the administrative control by IIIM-Jammu has led to “meager allocation of funds to IIIM-Srinagar.”

“We have brought around 3000 kanals of land under aromatic plant cultivation, which produces around 5 tons of Lavender oil currently. Jammu lags behind as the climatic conditions don’t favor the plant,” said Shawl. “Around 5-6 kgs of rose and 5 tons of lavender oils are produced on the cultivable land of IIM.”

Shawl said that essential oils produced in these farms have assured domestic and international market.

“Presently, the world demand for lavender oil is around 3000 tons and that for rose oil is 20 tons,” he said.

Officials said that lack of manpower is hampering their research work as well.
“If there can be two central universities in JK why can’t we have a separate Institute of Integrative Medicine. In Uttar Pradesh there are four such institutes while as there is only one in the State, even when Kashmir produces best aromatic and medicinal plants,” said the official.

“With adequate man power we can help in establishing bio-pharma industry by cultivating and processing high value essential oils, which have both domestic consumption and export potential,” said Head IIIM.

Formerly known as Regional Research Laboratories, IIIM also provides skill upgrades to unemployed youth especially women in leather and mushrooms, besides helping develop “10000 skilled and unskilled people associated with aromatic and medicinal plants industry in the Valley.”

Seeing the poor condition of the institute State Congress Committee Chief Saifuddin Soz shot a letter to Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan seeking separate mandate for IIIM-Srinagar.

“I was impressed by the work done on aromatic plants especially lavender, rose, rosemary by IIIM,” the letter reads while appreciating the institute.

“I strongly feel that there is an urgent need to have a separate institute for Kashmir,” the letter reads Soz as saying; seeking separate institute so that enough funds are available to the institute.

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