A meeting of the Advisory and Monitoring Committee of a key project on economically important endemic plant species in India was held at the University of Kashmir on Monday. The third meeting of the A&MC of the ‘All India Coordinated Project’ was organized by the Department of Botany. The meeting was informed that the prestigious program has so far yielded some very important leads to play a striking role in generating useful guiding framework for conservation practitioners, researchers, citizens, policy makers and funding organisations to focus their resources and efforts in India’s conservation research and action, and funding landscape at the national level. The University of Kashmir is represented in this national project by Prof Zaffar A Reshi as Principal Investigator (PI) and Dr Z A Kaloo and Dr M A Shah as Co-PIs. In view of the steep decline in population of some economically important endemic species across the country, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India is supporting the ambitious pan-India program ‘Preventing extinction and improving conservation status of threatened plants using biotechnological tools’. Addressing the meeting, KU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, applauded the high-quality research done by the Plant Ecology Group at the Department of Botany and desired for collaborations with it to take some of their leads forward. The Vice-Chancellor said it is a matter of great pride that KU is hosting the Third Edition of the important national-level meet. “I look forward to have more such collaborations in future with various prestigious research institutions of the country,” he said. Prof. Zafar A Reshi, organizer of the meeting, welcomed scientists of premier institutions of the country. Prof S K Barik, Programme Coordinator, said more than 89 scientists including some leading biodiversity experts, 56 researchers representing more than 37 institutions across the country, are involved in the project to recover more than 90 species from “the mouth of extinction” with an ultimate goal of “delisting 100 threatened species from the Red Data Book.” The Committee Chairman, Prof C R Babu, appreciated the valuable scientific contributions of the Department of Botany, KU, in plant sciences. Advisor DBT, Dr Mohammad Aslam, and Dr Onkar Tiwari, Scientist D at DBT, highlighted the rationale of the project and the expectations that the country in general, and DBT, in particular, has from this mega-project. Director CIMAP, Prof Anil Tripathi, shared his special interest of chemical profiling and bio-prospecting some medicinally-important species targeted by the project. Prof. Uma Shanker, Project Advisor, expressed his satisfaction about the progress of the project so far. Earlier Dr Manzoor A Shah, Department of Botany, presented vote of thanks. In the meeting, about 30 Project Coordinators and Principal Investigators of different sub-projects under this national network project presented the progress of their respective components before the Committee.
2015 Kashmir Despatch