Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurates India’s ‘First Lavender Festival’ in Bhaderwah

New Delhi :Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Earth Science; MoS of Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that Bhaderwah is the potential destination of Agri-tech StartUps of the country.

After Inaugurating the country’s first ‘Lavender Festival’ here, the Union Minister described Bhaderwah as the birthplace of India’s Purple Revolution. Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the country’s first lavender festival in Bhaderwah has been possible today only by the progressive thinking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who after taking the oath as PM in 2014 stressed that the regions which have been disconnected from the mainstream India must be connected to the mainstream through development.

Today’s Lavender Festival in the valley of Bhaderwah is the best example of development of present progressive government at the centre which should have been celebrated much earlier, Bhaderwah being the best place for lavender cultivation in terms of land and climate, he added.

Dr. Jitendra Singh also said that the development prospects of PM Modi led government for the far-flung areas like Bhaderwah can also be judged from the fact that the country’s first National Institute of High Altitude Medicine is being built in Bhaderwah which will attract scholars and researchers not only from India but across the globe generating employment opportunities for the region. The establishment of this institute is a proof of developmental initiatives reaching far flung places at an unprecedented rate compared to the last seventy years, Dr. Singh added.

The Minister said that the medical college at Doda and other distant places in J&K was not the priority of previous governments which shows that this government is leaving no stone unturned to take development to the farthest corners of the country.

About the development of roads in Doda and Bhaderwah, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the connectivity to Doda and Bhaderwah earlier through roads was unsuitable due to the threat of landslides especially during rains. But, the construction of roads and tunnels have made the distance easier now, Dr. Singh maintained.

The Minister said that the Bhaderwah-Bani-Basoli Highway, Chattergala Tunnel under Bharatmala, Khilani-Marmat-Sudhmahadev Road connecting Hambal and Kalota, Bhaderwah-Chamba Highway & tunnel, the all weather roads being constructed will open new vistas of development for this region.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said that this government believes in the principle of ‘Appeasement to none, justice for all’ and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of region, religion or caste and, maintained that the government wants that the benefits of all the government schemes must reach the last man in the last queue.

Dr. Singh emphasized that this government is trying its best to change the erstwhile political culture based on other things that may take some time but will be witnessed by the upcoming generations in India.

Referring to the lavender cultivation in the region, Dr. Singh said that Lavender is an avenue of employment generation and research opening many paradigms of development for the region.

He further said that the agriculturist Sh. Bharat Bhushan called the Brand Ambassador of Purple Revolution in India is an inspiration for youth in J&K towards Start-up culture.

Dr. Jitendra Singh further said that no government, even the government of the developed nations can’t provide employment to every citizen. But, the present government is creating avenues for employment generation under ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’.

Dr. Jitendra Singh maintained that start-ups under purple revolution in J&K are one of the avenues under ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’.

Dr. Jitendra Singh also said that under Lavender Cultivation, potential farmers’ income has not only been doubled but quadrupled. The Minister urged Media and opinion leaders to start awareness campaigns so that youth is attracted towards the start-up culture and their mind-set is freed from the thinking of government job.

Dr. Singh also inaugurated six distillation units under CSIR-IIIM for lavender situated at six different places.

Three MoUs were also signed between CSIR-IIIM Jammu with Agro Voltic Power, Mussoorie Uttarakhand, Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar Punjab and Fine Fragrance Power Limited, Mumbai.

Dr. D. S Reddy, Director CSIR-IIIM Jammu, Sh. Dhanenter Singh, DDC Chairperson, Doda, Sangeeta Bhagat, Vice-Chairperson DDC Doda, Shakti Raj Parihar, former Minister and MLA, Dr. Sumit Garola, Nodal Scientist CSIR besides scientists and potential farmers cultivating lavender were present during the festival. Many industrialists, potential farmers were felicitated during the lavender festival.

The Lavender Festival in Bhaderwah is being attended in large numbers by Scientists, Technologists, Progressive Farmers and Agri- entrepreneurs drawn from different parts of the country including Jammu and Kashmir.

CSIR-AROMA Mission, under the Ministry of Science & Technology aims to develop and disseminate the aroma-related science and technology to reach the end user/clients of CSIR: Farmers, industry and society.

Pertinent to mention that Aroma Mission is attracting Start-ups and agriculturists from across the country, and during Phase-I CSIR helped cultivation on 6000 hectares of land and covered 46 Aspirational districts across the country. More than 44,000 persons have been trained and several crores of farmers’ revenue generated. In the second Phase of Aroma Mission, it is proposed to engage over 45,000 skilled human resources with the aim of benefitting more than 75,000 farming families across the country.

CSIR-IIIM introduced lavender to farmers in Doda, Rama, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kupwara and Bandipora districts. It provided free quality planting material and end-to-end technology package on cultivation, processing, value addition and marketing of the Lavender crop to the farmers.

CSIR-IIIM also installed 50 distillation units — 45 fixed and five mobile — at different locations across J&K under CSIR-Aroma Mission.

Lavender cultivation has employed about 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in geographically remote areas of J&K. More than 1,000 farming families are cultivating it on more than 200 acres.

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