North Bengal University genome hub to save indigenous plants
A genome centre that preserves samples of various plant species in north Bengal for future use will come up on the campus of the North Bengal University (NBU) on Siliguri outskirts.
NBU vice-chancellor Subires Bhattacharyya said they had been working on the proposal for the past couple of months after the issue was raised by chief minister Mamata Banerjee at an administrative review meeting here and could finally get approval from the state.
“The government has approved it in principle and we will soon start work to build the centre,” the VC said.
“A number of indigenous plants found in this region are getting rarer day by day. The centre will help us protect the biodiversity and preserve the genes of these plant species so that those can be nurtured to regenerate and cultivate fresh saplings,” he added.
The centre, varsity sources said, will be named as Biswa Bangla Genome Centre, and its construction work is likely to commence from next month.
Mamata, who was here in September this year, had stressed the need for such a centre and had also asked the vice-chancellor and other NBU officials to work on it.
A senior faculty member of the botany department at the varsity said a genome centre of plants could largely help researchers in north Bengal. The sub-Himalayan region that covers high-altitude areas such as Sandakphu to pristine forests of the Dooars, is known to be a storehouse of biodiversity.
“There are several ethno-medicinal species, most of which grow in the wild. It is necessary to preserve samples of these species, along with samples of rare floral species. The centre will also provide scope to researchers to work on different species,” he said.
Dilip Sarkar, the registrar of NBU, said they planned to set up the centre near the department of bioinformatics on the campus. “Detailed plans will be chalked out to make a state-of-the-art facility as it will be one of its kind in the region,” said Sarkar.