Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the Himalayan states and Union territories such as Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir offer unexplored potential for post-COVID resurgence.
Addressing the 'Himalayan Divas' conclave here, Singh said for centuries, the Himalayas have stood like a custodian guarding India against foreign invasions and the assaults of nature.
Citing scientific research, Singh said for a large part of the Indian subcontinent, Himalaya serves as a major source of water, flora and fauna.
At the same time, rivers flowing along the Himalayas, whether it is the Indus or the Ganga, offer immense avenues which are yet to be fully explored, he said.
About a dozen States and Union Territories Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and parts of West Bengal, are located along the Himalayas.
Singh, Union Minister for Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER), said while the Himalaya have vast resources with unexplored potential, there are questions whether enough initiatives are being taken to preserve and utilise it optimally for the benefit of humanity.
That is the question which needs to be addressed rising above all considerations including politics, he said.
The minister said despite concerns like perennial floods, landslides, deforestation, environment pollution, climatic alterations, the Himalayas have the capacity to come to the rescue of humans as a major tool for post-COVID resurgence.
He said the COVID catastrophe has made people realise the need to channelise Himalayan resources.
For example, bamboo from the North Eastern Himalayan range will play a major role in the future economy of the country, he said, referring to the recent hike in import duty of bamboo and amendment in the Indian Forest Act to facilitate the production of bamboo articles and their export.
Similarly, he said, there are other items like saffron and exclusive fruits which have not yet been optimally utilised for the economy and trade.
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