New Delhi : Lt. Governor Ladakh R.K. Mathur today met Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh and thanked the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the aegis of Union Ministry of Science & Technology for promoting “Leh Berry” which is an exclusive food product of the cold desert and also a means of wide-ranging entrepreneurship as well as self-livelihood.
Dr Jitendra Singh referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ladakh in May 2018, wherein the PM had strongly advised for widespread cultivation of sea buckthorn, which is also the source of “Leh Berry”.
He said, the value addition of this agriculture product has potential to revolutionize the economic scenario of the newly created Union Territory. He said that reference to its medicinal properties is also being found in the Tibetan literature of the 8th century AD. The Minister was apprised by the LG that it is also very useful for armed force personnel deployed at a very high altitude due to its antioxidant properties.
The Minister informed the LG that CSIR, in collaboration of UT Govt of Ladakh, will start commercial cultivation of sea buckthorn berry from coming spring season in Ladakh. He said, CSIR will also develop harvesting machinery to be used by local farmers and self-help groups, as currently only 10% of berry is being extracted from the wild sea buckthorn plant.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that local entrepreneurs will be provided gainful employment through farming, processing and marketing of about 100 odd products from sea buckthorn plant like jams, juices, herbal tea, vitamin C supplements, healthy drinks, cream, oils, and soaps in a completely organic manner. He said, this immunity boosting natural berry is getting increasingly popularized not only in India, but also in great demand in foreign countries for its medicinal value. The Minister informed that the ancient local Ladakhi amchi medicine system also places a very high premium on the sea buckthorn berry and its curative properties.
Dr Jitendra Singh told Mathur that a high level team of senior scientists from CSIR will soon visit Ladakh to evaluate the Zinc Fortification project for Pashmina Goats, Sheep and Yak as Ladakh is mainly an Animal-based economy. He said, CSIR is contemplating to start a Geo-Thermal Energy Project for warming and cooling systems in a Zero-net energy programme by linking it with Solar Power.
LG, Ladakh R.K.Mathur also thanked Dr Jitendra Singh for granting the exclusive centre for holding of Civil Service Examination at Leh for the first time since Independence. He informed that Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam were held successfully on 10th October this year. The Minister said that the Common Eligibility Test, planned through the recently constituted National Recruitment Agency, will also have one Centre each in the districts of Leh and Kargil respectively.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that a Common Eligibility Test (CET) will be conducted across the country from early 2022 to screen/shortlist candidates for jobs in Government sector for which recruitment is presently carried out through the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). He said, this is not only a Governance reform but a huge Social reform for the job aspirant youth living in remote and far flung areas.