Raipur: In a bid to give a thrust to the herbal drugs industry under its ‘Make in Chhattisgarh‘ vision, the state government is contemplating to start manufacture of Ayurvedic medicines on a large scale.
As per the plan, Ayurvedic drug manufacturers would be invited to set up herbal drug production units in the state, based on public private partnership (PPP) mode.
“Under ‘Make in Chhattisgarh’ initiative, we are planning to give a boost to the manufacturing of Ayurvedic drugs in Chhattisgarh, which is famous as herbal state with its bountiful natural resources of forests and agricultural fields,” Forest Minister Mahesh Gagda told PTI.
The demand for plant-based therapeutics is increasing in national as well as international market as they are natural products, non-narcotic, having no side-effects, easily available at affordable prices and sometimes the only source of healthcare available to the poor, he said.
Besides, in states like Chhattisgarh, it provides the means of livelihood to a large population, specially the tribals who are involved in collection of medicinal plants and fruits.
Therefore, sustainable development of medicinal plants sector could positively contribute towards the overall economy of the state as well as its people, he said.
The Chhattisgarh State Medicinal Plant Board, in its survey, has identified occurrence of around 2,021 medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in the state.
They are mainly found in Abhujmad region, Bailadilla hills, Kanger Reserve and Kurchel valley in Bastar division and in some parts of Surguja division in north Chhattisgarh.
The actively traded MAPs from the state are Bhui Aonla (Phyllanthus amarus), Baheda Chhilka (Terminalia belerica), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Safed Musli (Chlorophytum tuberosum), Aama Haldi (Curcuma amada), Bhelwa Fruit (Semecarpus anacardium), Van Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum), Dhawai Phool (Woofordia fruitcosa) and about 100 others.
According to the forest department, the production of MAPs is about 87,065 metric tonne in the state but the maximum is being supplied to other states as raw material, Gagda said, adding, the aim is to now utilise the raw materials in the state only for the production of herbal drugs.
Although presently about two dozen products of medicinal plants are being manufactured in the state which are sold through six commercial centres of forest department, it is being done on a very small scale, he said.
Chyawanprash, pickles of Amla, syrup of bhel, triphala churna powder are among the herbal products manufactured by the forest department.
Recently, a team of the forest department and the State Medicinal Plant Board led by Gagda visited Kerala – a leading manufacturer of Ayurvedic drugs in the country – to study the prospects of herbal drug industry in Chhattisgarh.
“About 40 per cent of medicinal aromatic plants (raw materials) from the state are exported to Kerala for manufacturing of drugs. Therefore, a study team visited the southern state to analyse their means of production, processing units and marketing strategy,” the minister said.
“We got to know that in Kerala they have shortage of power while land, water and electricity are primary industrial requirements. Our state has these things in abundance, thereby ideal for the expansion of herbal drug industry,” he said.
“We have submitted the study report to the Chief Minister and very soon another team of senior officials from the state will visit Kerala to take a final call on the strategy to promote the industry here,” he informed.
For the purpose, private drug manufacturers will be invited in the state to take up production of ayurvedic medicines on PPP basis.
On the lines of allopathic medicines, factories would be set up for the production of herbal drugs, including tablets and syrup, for different kinds of diseases, Gagda added.