♣ Herbal garden scheme in schools get more funds

Laxmi Birajdar, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 04.16am IST

PUNE: The idea of spreading awareness on biodiversity and health has received a boost with the Union government granting fresh funds to the directorate of social forestry for raising herbal gardens in the National Green Corps (NGC) schools across the state.

Around 100 schools in Maharashtra, which are members of the NGC, will start herbal gardens on their campuses. The concept has been floated by the National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) under the Union ministry of health and around Rs 14 lakh has been granted to the directorate of social forestry for this activity that will take ground in a month or two.

“The objective is to sensitise students about conservation of medicinal plants and the role of medicinal plants in providing holistic remedy. Students, who will be in-charge of raising and maintaining these herbal gardens, will understand the biodiversity through plants and get an idea about global warming among other environment-related issues,” said Prakash Thosre, director, social forestry, Maharashtra. Six schools from Thane, 23 from Pune, 18 from Nashik and 17 each from Aurangabad and Amravati have been selected for raising the herbal gardens.

With technical expertise and raw materials provided by the social forestry department, each NGC school will raise a herbal garden in an area of 1,000 sq metre. Around 32 species of plants like ‘amla,’ ‘tulsi,’ ‘bel,’ sandalwood, ‘isabgol,’ ‘kokam,’ ‘sarpagandha,’ ‘ashwagandha,’ shatavari’ and ‘brahmi,’ have been selected for plantation.

“The plan is to have a barbed wire fencing for the garden, water pipes and sprinklers for irrigation, organic manure and necessary tools. The cost for setting up a garden will be around Rs 10,000 for the first year and Rs 4,000 for maintenance during the second year,” Thosre said.

Students will look after the gardens as a part of their extra-curricular activities. They will be assisted by teachers of environmental studies. “The saplings will be labelled with information like their local, English and botanical names, the family and their medicinal uses. Looking after the herbal gardens will also help students develop a bond with nature,” Thosre said.
Source: Times of India

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