LG Sinha, Dr Jitendra inaugurate North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park in Kathua


Together with advances in Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Biotech Park will accelerate change: LG

Kathua’s Industrial Biotech Park to act as StartUp hub for incubation of new ideas and will support Agri-entrepreneurs, progressive farmers, scientists & scholars not only from Jammu and Kashmir, but also from neighbouring States like Punjab & Himachal Pradesh: Dr Jitendra Singh


SRINAGAR/KATHUA: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha and Union Minister of State in PMO with Independent charge of Science and Technology Department, Dr Jitendra Singh on Saturday inaugurated the North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park constructed at Ghatti near Kathua.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh said the Central Government through the department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, has taken a number of initiatives to accelerate the growth of biotechnology by promoting development of innovative technologies, infrastructure, human resources and industry, which has helped the sector to gain global visibility.
This is the historic day for J&K as the name of Kathua is now listed among those developed regions of India where biotech parks have been established, attracting innovations and research not only from the country but from the whole world, Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office, said after inaugurating the park along with J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
Singh, who represents Udhampur Parliamentary constituency, said that the next 25 years are very crucial for this country and when India would be celebrating its 100 years of independence in 2047, the youth of Kathua would be among the great contributors towards making India a Vishwa Guru’ (World leader).
Kathua is, because of its resource richness with diversity as well as its geographical location, destined to be North India’s StartUp destination, he said.
Singh said the Biotech Park would act as hub for incubation of new ideas and will act as a robust platform to support the Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, progressive farmers, scientists, scholars and students not only from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh but also from nearby states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The biotechnology park at Kathua has a potential to produce 25 startups in a year which will be among its great contributions to this region, the local MP said, adding with the unlocking of space technology in India under Modi, 60 startups have been established in only one-and-a-half-years.
He said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi without any regional bias, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has seen a new dawn of development in education, health infrastructure, science and technology.
He also said that the need is to change the erstwhile government job mindset first among the elders and then youth when the government has created greatest avenues for youth in the name of lucrative start-ups under Start-Up India, Stand-Up India’.
He said the startup revolution has now started in J&K, the start-ups under Aroma Mission being the best starting points under it, creating household names in India like Bharat Bhushan, the brand ambassador of Aroma Mission in India who not only doubled but quadrupled his income in only a few years.
The Minister emphasised that the StartUps must be sustainable and connected to the livelihood which is the actual mantra of this government creating greater employment opportunities under StartUps.
The Botlabs’ is the best example of a sustainable startup connected to livelihood which flew 1000 drones during the beating retreat ceremony and are now earning in millions for sponsoring the drone shows in the country, he said.
He said Northeast is now the best example of change in India attracting StartUps across the country.
J&K too has a potential to become the prime destination for start-ups with resources diversity, he said, adding the facilities like herbal extraction, fermentation, analytical lab, distillation, micro-propagation, plant tissue culture would be available in Biotech Park besides the provision of technology incubation, training and skill development.
Singh said the work on the two Industrial Biotech Parks, one at Ghatti in Kathua and other in Handwara in north Kashmir jointly funded by union Ministry of Science and Technology and Jammu & Kashmir Science, Technology & Innovation Council was started in February 2019.
CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, (CSIR-IIIM) Jammu has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of this project.
Singh said this biotech park will carry out research on biodiversity, medicinal and aromatic plants of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and it will also promote green category businesses.
He said the Department of Biotechnology has established Biotechnology Parks and Incubators across the country to translate research into products and services by providing necessary infrastructure support.
These Biotechnology Parks offer facilities to Scientists, and Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) for technology incubation, technology demonstration and pilot plant studies for accelerated commercial development of Biotechnology. The Biotech Parks of J&K are among 9 Biotechnology Parks supported by the Department of Biotechnology in various States, he said.
He said Biotechnology has made significant impact on the socio-economic developments worldwide with contributions in various sectors of biotechnology such as health care, agriculture, process industry, environment and service sectors.
The Indian biotechnology industry is one of the fastest growing knowledge based economies and is expected to play a vital role in shaping India’s economy.
India is uniquely positioned to harness the immense potential that biotechnology offers for transforming all aspects of life globally. The Indian biotech industry is among the top 12 destinations in the world and ranks second in Asia after China, he said. Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor said that the inauguration of Industrial Biotech Park at Kathua will transform the Economy and enable scientists to tackle challenges of climate change. The enabling infrastructure will fuel new wave of Innovation and impact various sectors, from health and agriculture to cosmetics and materials.
The Lt Governor observed that new Industrial Biotech Park at Kathua will provide Startups, Young Entrepreneurs and SMEs the tools that can make production cheaper, manageable and environmentally sustainable. Together with advances in Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Biotech Park will accelerate change, he said.
As North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park it will be vital futuristic asset of Agri-Horticulture Entrepreneurs, Startup Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Youth Entrepreneurs and Scientists of the region, he added.
With new Biotech capabilities and innovation, J&K UT, bestowed with more than 3500 medicinal plant species, will be able to harness market advantages in the most effective way and help the farmers to generate more income, observed the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor further observed that under the leadership of Prime Minister, the new Industrial Development Scheme has enabled J&K to fetch investment of more than Rs 38,800 crore as on dates, which also includes proposals of 338 industrial units associated with the biotech sector in some way or the other. The establishment of organic based and pharmaceutical companies will definitely be successful in linking the abundant natural wealth neglected for decades with the industry, he added.
The Lt Governor said that another Biotech Park at Handwara, Kupwara is under construction and the park will cost Rs. 84.66 Crore, shared between Department of Biotechnology, GoI and Science & Technology Department of the UT Government.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister and observed that the country has recovered its lost ancient scientific temper under his leadership. At present, unprecedented progress has been made by the country in the field of space science, nuclear science, and biotechnology.
The Lt Governor outlined that the glimpse of this collective commitment and self reliance of country was apparent during the corona pandemic when scientists across the country strengthened the health infrastructure from test kits to vaccines and instilled a new sense of self-confidence amongst young scientists and researchers associated with Biotech.
Recalling his address at the National Seminar on Agriculture 4.0, the Lt Governor said that after the Green Revolution, today’s biggest concern is not just food security, but to find an alternative way through technology and develop a system of sustainable production minimizing the use fertilizers and chemicals. He further stressed that the answer to all this lies in the optimal use of Biotechnology.
The Lt Governor impressed upon the scientists of the Industrial Biotech Park, Kathua and the researchers of SKUAST to collaborate on tissue culture and molecular diagnostics of new variety of plants. Our goal is to integrate agriculture and allied sector completely with biotech so that the whole time cycle of crop production can be streamlined and made beneficial for the farmers, he added.