The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which falls under the Ministry of Jal Shakti and executes the government’s Namami Gange initiative, has granted a Rs 4.32 crore project to the Patanjali Research Institute and Patanjali Organic Research Institute, both of Haridwar. The project’s objective is “scientific exploration” of the flora along the Ganga riverbanks.
At its meeting on December 23, 2022, the executive committee of the NMCG voted to award the project to Patanjali. “After discussions, the Executive Committee (EC) approved the proposal for issuing Administrative Approval and Expenditure Sanction (AA&ES) to implement the project by Patanjali Research Institute (PRI) and Patanjali Organic Research Institute (PoRI), Haridwar, Uttarakhand, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,32,36,107/- for a period of 18 months,” according to the minutes of a meeting presided over by NMCG director general G Asok Kumar.
“The NMCG’s portion of the project’s total cost is Rs 2,415,545/- (56%), while the PoRI’s contribution is Rs 1,908,562/- (44%). “It was also determined that Patanjali would adhere to the proposals made by BSI and Committee members,” the statement continued. The minutes were recently distributed.
The records of the discussion indicate that Acharya Balkrishna, chairman of PoRI, Haridwar, presented a proposal entitled “Scientific exploration of floral diversity near the Ganga river banks for ethnobotanical purposes in addition to their conservation and economic development of the region through skill development programmes region.” The meeting minutes state, “He provided an overview of Patanjali’s activities in the realm of R&D and expressed their desire to participate in the Namami Gange Mission.”
According to the records, Acharya Balkrishna briefed the committee that the purpose of the project is to conduct “phytochemical study, floral survey, plantation, research and recording of flora and fauna and aspects of economic prospects, including outreach /IEC for stakeholders.”
Records of the discussion indicate that one of the NMCG officials, the ED (admin), stated that Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has the “mandate of carrying out exploration, inventorization, and documentation of phyto-diversity (including nonflowering plants)” in India, as well as “survey and documentation of traditional knowledge (ethnobotany) associated with plants.”
“Therefore, Patanjali should utilise the information available from BSI to avoid duplicating work that BSI has already completed. In addition, this information may be available from the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun and the Ministry of AYUSH, according to the minutes.
The records of negotiations indicate that Acharya Balakrishna agreed to coordinate with these agencies. It was also said that NMCG officials informed the committee that the BSI had “examined” the submitted proposal.
According to the minutes, “Dr. Pavan Kumar from PoRI gave a detailed presentation of the proposal, emphasising the need for the project and the knowledge gaps to be filled. Further, he added that chemical analysis will be conducted on a selection of medicinal plant species in order to enumerate their therapeutic properties and determine the viability of commercial-scale cultivation.”
“Both qualitative and quantitative approaches will be taken to examine the phytochemical diversity of a variety of plant species, as well as the plant-microbe interactions, in order to comprehend the phytochemical diversity. The water and soil quality indicators of the chosen regions will be analysed to determine the level of pollution and its effect on floral diversity. Insilco analysis will be used to investigate the unknown therapeutic properties of economically significant plant species. The indigenous medical practitioners’ usage of traditional remedies derived from significant plants will also be recorded, according to the minutes.
The NMCG awarded the project to the Patanjali institute days after signing an agreement with the Haridwar-based organisation. The NMCG and PoRI signed a memorandum of understanding on October 31, 2022 for the promotion and execution of Arth Ganga, and the submitted request for funding under Namami Gange Mission-II is consistent with the Arth Ganga idea. Arth Ganga mostly refers to “economically connecting people to the river.”