2-day national seminar on biodiversity begins at Kashmir varsity

Srinagar

A two-day seminar on ‘Himalayan Biodiversity—Characterization and Bioprospection for Sustainable Utilization’ started at the University of Kashmir on Monday.

The national-level seminar is hosted and organised by KU’s Centre For Kashmir Himalayan Biodiversity: Documentation, Bioprospection and Conservation sanctioned under the UGC’s CPEPA scheme and is sponsored by the UGC, Department of Science and Technology New Delhi and Department of Biotechnology New Delhi.

In his presidential address, KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi underscored the importance of biodiversity. He said that scientists have done a commendable job vis-à-vis exploring the utility and bioprospection of biodiversity for human welfare like curing of diseases. However, he said, that beyond the medicinal value of biodiversity “we as researchers and scientists should also focus on other aspects of biodiversity including its documentation and conservation.”

Prof Andrabi expressed hope that the two-day seminar would provide an opportunity to young scholars and researchers to interact with the veterans in the field and learn from their rich experiences.

In his inaugural address, Prof Saroj K Barik, Director National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) said that 30 percent geographical area of the country is still unexplored and biodiversity becomes more challenging when it comes to the Himalayan region where “40 percent of the geographical area is yet to be explored and documented.”

Emphasising on partnerships to undertake path-breaking research, Prof Barik added: “Partnership with other fields is the key to achieve success but for this we first need freedom to conduct research, faculty and funds.”

Prof Uma Shanker from GKVK Bangalore congratulated the seminar organisers for registering huge participation of delegates from various parts of the country. “Though characterization and bioprospection are bedrock of any such research on biodiversity, exploring new plant adaptations is also important to make the research more meaningful.”

Prof Madhoolika Agarwal, advisor CPEPA-UGC, encouraged young researchers and investigators to come up with novel and collaborative proposals on lower plants while Dr Arun Ninawe, advisor DBT, highlighted the role of DBT in funding various research projects. Earlier, Dean Research Prof Zaffar A Reshi, who is also seminar convener, deliberated upon aims and objectives of the seminar. Dr Manzoor A Shah, organising secretary, conducted the proceedings of the seminar while Dr Imtiaz A Khan, another organising secretary, presented vote of thanks.

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