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Proposal to regulate extraction of rare herbs yet to get nod

SHIMLA: While clandestine extraction of rare herbs, including 'nagchhatri' (Trilliumgovanianum) and 'ban lehsun' (Fritillariaroylei) is taking place across Himachal Pradesh, the state government is sitting over a proposal submitted by state forest department in January this year to regulate extraction of rare herbs. Regulating the extraction by amending existing rules would not only help in saving the endangered species, but it would also help in generating additional revenue for the department.

Legalized extraction of rare herbs can turn the fortunes of people residing in the remote locations of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu districts as it would generate additional source of income for them but so far government has not been able to issue the notification due to which illegal extraction is continuing in remote locations.

At present no royalty is charged on 'nagchattri' and the forest department only takes the export permit fee of Rs 25 as people had rights in the forests but under the new proposal permit fee would be in thousands. State forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri on March 22 this year had announced in the assembly that the department would come out with a policy on extraction of rare medicinal herbs found in forests of 
Himachal Pradeshand the issues involving their export but after that nothing happened.

While the forest minister and principal chief conservator (forest) claim that already instructions have been issued to officials to allow export permit by charging proposed permit fee but officials in the districts on their part denied having received any such instructions. Principal chief conservator of forest R K Gupta said that forest officials in Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti have been directed to give export permit to local traders by charging proposed permit fee, but officials in Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti, besides Kullu, denied having receive any such instructions.

Himachal forest department in January this year had submitted a proposal to the state government to amend HP Forest Produce Tansit (Land Routes), Rules of 1978 by adding 90 species including 'nagchhatri' in the list along with their proposed permit fee.

The Times of India (17-08-2013)