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| Last Updated:06/02/2020

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Chamba rich in medicinal plants

Himachal Pradesh, particularly Chamba district, is endowed with a variety of medicinal plants. About 37.7 per cent area in the district is having forest cover and is very rich in medicinal plants.

The district also has a network of protected areas comprising five wildlife sanctuaries- Kalatop-Khajjiar, Kugti, Tundah, Gamgul Siabehi and Sechu-Twan.

The rare and highly valued medicinal herbs are frequently exported by smugglers after buying them from the local right holders who have age-old riparian rights to extract and collect them for export to far-flung countries like Japan and China through the markets of Amritsar and Pathankot. Many important herbs are nagchattri (trillidium Ggvanianum), gucchi (morchella esculenta), kuth and jungli lahsun (fritillaria royelei).

A number of medicinal plants are exported every year officially after obtaining export permits from Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs). The main herbs include dhoop, mushakbala, kour, cuchi, ban kakru, kakarsingi, patish, bhutkeshi, datishan, pathenbed, chukri, brass flowers etc.

However, the possibilities of surreptitious movement of some of these medicinal plants cannot be ruled out in the interest of avoiding the payment of permit fee to the state Forest Department.

To discourage people from the illegal export of medicinal plants, a draft notification has recently been sent to the government . The draft notification includes 91 species of medicinal plants. The permit fee ranges from Rs 100 to 10,000 per quintal for gucchi.

Official sources said there was abundant potential for the collection and export of medicinal plants in the Churah forest division followed by Chamba and other forest divisions. The annual average collection of medicinal herbs is around 2,220 quintals in the district.

The forest department has set a norm of planting 30 per cent saplings of medicinal nature out of the total saplings planted every year. This year, more than nine lakh saplings of medicinal plants would be planted in the Chamba forest circle.

The exclusive nurseries like Sural Bhatori, Hudan Bhatori in Pangi forest division, Holi and Lamu in Bharmour forest division and Joth Dhar in Dalhousie forest division of medicinal plants are also maintained in various parts of the district.

The Tribune (23-10-2013) Himachal Plus