With several countries like Canada, Israel and Malaysia are approaching Himachal Pradesh to provide high quality Vijaya leaf extract for use in pharma and hemp industry, the demand for allowing its controlled cultivation may gain ground.
Although successive governments have chosen to tread cautiously on the issue, there have been demands even in the past to allow its controlled cultivation with there being a huge demand from the pharma sector.
The issue has come alive once again with ambassadors and high commissioners of many countries evincing interest in high quality Vijaya leaf extract, which grows in abundance in Kullu, Mandi and other parts of the state. The diplomats have conveyed that the quality of hemp in HP is of a far higher quality than that from Uttarakhand, for which there is a huge international market.
It is with an eye on attracting big investments that the state government held interaction with representatives of almost 100 countries in Delhi ahead of the Global Investors Meet, scheduled to be held at Dharamsala on November 8-9.
“The demand to provide Vijaya leaf extract has come in from ambassadors of some countries, who claim that medicines prepared from it are beneficial for treating cancer and diabetes,” said Sanjay Kundu, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister. While Uttarakhand has already notified a policy in that regard, the issue was yet to be taken up in Himachal, he added.
“Police have been undertaking campaigns to destroy Vijaya and poppy plants besides launching awareness campaigns, but that alone cannot contain the problem which is assuming alarming proportions,” opined SR Mardi, Director General of Police. He stressed the need to go for high return cash crops to wean locals away from the drug trade.
Some public representatives, including Kullu MLA Sunder Thakur, also advocated allowing controlled cultivation of Vijaya plants so that it can bring economic returns to the locals. They have traditionally used hemp to make ropes, pulleys (footwear) and in local cuisine.
Grappling with the problem of cultivation and trafficking of narcotic substances and tourist centers like Kullu-Manali, Dharamsala-McLeodganj and Shimla emerge as major drug centers, the multi-pronged strategy to contain the menace has failed to yield results.
- Ambassadors and high commissioners of many countries have evinced interest in high quality Vijaya leaf extract
- They claim the medicines prepared using it are very beneficial in treating cancer and diabetes
Tribune News Service
Shimla, September 9