JAMMU: Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmed Ganai today inaugurated two day UGS-SAP sponsored National Seminar on ‘Plant and Fungal Diversity: Status and Challenges and Symposium on Ecology’ here at Department of Botany University of Jammu.
In his inaugural address, the Advisor recounted the contribution of eminent researchers and teachers in holistic development of science and environment. He further said that biodiversity both of plants and animals is indispensable for human survival and therefore it should be priority area to work on.
Expressing concern over the shrinking forest cover in Jammu & Kashmir, the Advisor opined that there is an ardent need for documentation and inventorying the bio-resources by all the research institutions of the State. ‘A symbiotic interface between Universities and Agricultural institutions to plan strategy to conserve biodiversity is the need of the hour”, he said.
He also assured the University of Jammu of all possible support from the state administration for management plan for protecting the state bioresources for posterity. He appreciated the achievements and accomplishments of the University of Jammu, in general and the Department of Botany, in particular.
Ganai also stressed on Solid Waste Management in the State and in that direction suggested that the University of Jammu should devise the strategies for finding solutions to the scientific disposal of the waste management.
In his keynote address, Dr. J. L. Karihaloo – Former Director ICAR- NBPGR, New Delhi talked about unique qualities and potentialities with respect to yield, quality and adaptability of the land races and wild crop relatives including rice, barley, apple, alliums, saffron and seabuckthorn.
He gave an overview of the systematic collection and long term conservation measures of germplasm in the wide range of these species. Dr Karihaloo further said that a multidimensional procedure including cryopreservation, gene banks, seed banks etc., are suitable tools for conserving the species of interest.
Prof. Manoj Dhar, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu in his presidential remarks said that University of Jammu has initiated a major project with the support of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India to conserve 450 varieties of apple collected from Kashmir Valley, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand at Bhaderwah Campus, which will be made available for further research and development of horticulture.
Prof Dhar talked about the importance of Fungi in plant and animal world and gave an updated data about the diversity of fungi and plants world over. He further added that on the basis molecular techniques now it is revealed that fungi are more close to the animals than plants.
He further said that specific grant have been earmarked for the Department of Botany for infrastructural development and for curricular revision to raise level of the Department to the international standards. Prof Dhar said that University is planning to establish Research Innovation Cluster in Jammu University under RUSA, wherein research on biodiversity can be conducted using modern tools.
During the inaugural function, rich tributes in the form of a documentary prepared by Dr. Harish Dutt were paid to Late Prof Shashi Kant, an accomplished academician and an ace administrator of the Department of Botany. University of Jammu also paid rich tributes on the untimely passing away of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa. Two minutes of silence was also observed.
Prominent among others Prof A.K Koul, Prof M.C Sharma, Prof T N Lakhanpal (Shimla), Prof A.S Ahluwalia (PU, Chandigarh), Dr. D K Upreti (NBRI, Lucknow), Dr. Rakesh Bhargava (ICAR-CIAH, Bikaner), Dr. Bikarma (CSIR-IIIM), retired faculty of the Department of Botany, Deans and Heads of various University Departments, faculty members of the faculty of Life Sciences, Alumni of Botany, research scholars and students were also present on the occasion.