SRINAGAR – Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha and Union Minister of State in PMO with Independent charge of Science and Technology Department, Dr Jitendra Singh today inaugurated the North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park constructed at Ghatti near Kathua.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor said that the inauguration of Industrial Biotech Park at Kathua will transform the Economy and enable scientists to tackle challenges of climate change. The enabling infrastructure will fuel a new wave of Innovation and impact various sectors, from health and agriculture to cosmetics and materials.
The Lt Governor observed that the new Industrial Biotech Park at Kathua will provide Startups, Young Entrepreneurs and SMEs the tools that can make production cheaper, manageable and environmentally sustainable. Together with advances in Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Biotech Park will accelerate change, he said.
As North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park it will be a vital futuristic asset of Agri-Horticulture Entrepreneurs, Startup Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Youth Entrepreneurs and Scientists of the region, he added.
With new Biotech capabilities and innovation, J&K UT, bestowed with more than 3500 medicinal plant species, will be able to harness market advantages in the most effective way and help the farmers to generate more income, observed the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor further observed that under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, the new Industrial Development Scheme has enabled J&K to fetch investment of more than Rs 38,800 crore as on dates, which also includes proposals of 338 industrial units associated with the biotech sector in some way or the other. The establishment of organic based and pharmaceutical companies will definitely be successful in linking the abundant natural wealth neglected for decades with the industry, he added.
The Lt Governor said that another Biotech Park at Handwara, Kupwara is under construction and the park will cost Rs. 84.66 Crore, shared between Department of Biotechnology, GoI and Science & Technology Department of the UT Government.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor expressed his gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and observed that the country has recovered its lost ancient scientific temper under his leadership. At present, unprecedented progress has been made by the country in the field of space science, nuclear science, and biotechnology.
The Lt Governor outlined that the glimpse of this collective commitment and self-reliance of the country was apparent during the corona pandemic when scientists across the country strengthened the health infrastructure from test kits to vaccines and instilled a new sense of self-confidence amongst young scientists and researchers associated with Biotech.
Recalling his address at the National Seminar on Agriculture 4.0, the Lt Governor said that after the Green Revolution, today’s biggest concern is not just food security, but to find an alternative way through technology and develop a system of sustainable production minimizing the use of fertilizers and chemicals. He further stressed that the answer to all this lies in the optimal use of Biotechnology.
The Lt Governor impressed upon the scientists of the Industrial Biotech Park, Kathua and the researchers of SKUAST to collaborate on tissue culture and molecular diagnostics of a new variety of plants. Our goal is to integrate agriculture and allied sectors completely with biotech so that the whole time cycle of crop production can be streamlined and made beneficial for the farmers, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh, said that the Biotech Park would act as hub for incubation of new ideas and will act as a robust platform to support the Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, Progressive farmers, scientists, scholars and students not only from Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh but also from nearby States of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. He said that the biotechnology park at Kathua has a potential to produce 25 startups in a year which will be among its great contributions to this region.
Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India, on the occasion said that the Indian biotech industry is among the fastest growing industries in the world and is the best destination for biotech research and development. This biotech park will prove to be a boon for the whole northern region. It will promote many sectors like biomedical, biodiversity research etc.
A video clip on the features, benefits and research opportunities for students of the Industrial Biotech Park was shown on the occasion
Noted Lavender flower grower Sh Bharat Bhushan shared his experience of developing his own Agri-Startup and outlined his journey to achieving prosperity. Rashtriya Bal puraskar winner, Master Onkar Singh Batra from JK also shared his success story.
Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology & Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and Director General, CSIR; Dr. M. Ravichandran, Secretary, MoES; Dr. S. Chandersekhar, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology; Dr. D.S Reddy, Director, CSIR-IIIM Jammu; Dr. Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, Government of J&K; DDC Chairperson Kathua, Col. Mahan Singh; Vice Chairperson DDC, Kathua, Raghunandan Singh Bablo; Vice Chancellors of Universities of Jammu & Kashmir UT, Directors of IIT, AIIMS & IIM, Industrialists, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, Scholars and students were present in the inaugural event.