Delayed due to COVID-19, Kathua’s Biotech Park may be ready by Feb 2021: Jitendra

Taking a review of North India’s first ever Biotech Industrial Park project coming up at Kathua district, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh was informed that the complex got delayed due to COVID-19 difficulties but may get ready by February 2021.
“The deadline of the completion of the project had got delayed due to COVID related difficulties and the new deadline would possibly be around February 2021,” the Minister, who was reviewing upcoming North India’s first ever Biotech Industrial Park Project at Kathua and first ever Cannabis Medicine Project with Canadian collaboration at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu and other projects being set up through Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
The review meeting was, among others, attended through video conference, by Director-General CSIR Dr Shekhar Mande from New Delhi, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Jammu & Kashmir Rajiv Bhatanagar from Srinagar and Dr D Srinivasa Reddy, Director IIIM from Jammu.
The meeting was also followed by a virtual visit to the site and inspection of the ongoing work on Biotech Park at Gatti near Kathua.
The virtual inspection tour was conducted by Senior Scientist from IIIM Jammu Dr Zubair who was also accompanied by local representatives of the area.
Dr Singh appreciated the fact that the work on the Biotech Industrial Park in Kathua was carrying on in spite of the constraints of COVID pandemic, although the pace was slow.
He called for conducting awareness programmes to sensitise people about the new avenues of livelihood, Startup ventures, entrepreneurship and research which will become available when the Biotech Park becomes functional.
Spread over an area of around 10.5 acres of land, the benefits of this Biotech Industrial Park will also be available to the neighbouring States of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
Referring to the first-ever Seed Processing Plant which is almost ready at Kathua, Dr Singh said, the Biotech Park and Seed Processing Plant will be able to supplement each other’s resources and this would be in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling farmers’ income.
The projects will promote economic development and also quality export projects, he said.
About the Canadian collaboration Cannabis Medicine Project launched at IIIM Jammu, Dr Singh said, this is the first major foreign investment in Jammu and Kashmir after the creation of Union Territory.
Special permission had to be obtained to produce the pain-relief medicine for patients suffering from cancer, diabetes, etc using Cannabis, which is otherwise restricted for use because of narcotic drug abuse. The medicine prepared from this plant can be utilised even for export to other countries, he added.
Dr Singh was also given an update about the Lemon Grass Cultivation Project launched by CSIR on his personal intervention. The Minister was informed that presently Lemon Grass cultivation has been undertaken in districts of Kathua, Udhampur, Doda and Kishtwar.