A public interest litigation (PIL) has been recently moved before the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the state government to grant necessary permission to set up the National Institute of Medicinal Plants (NIMP) at Dodamarg in Sindhudurg district, as decided by the Centre’s Ministry of AYUSH.
While stating that the project will enable research on medicinal plants in the Konkan region and generate employment, the petition added that the state government had asked the AYUSH Ministry to shift the project to Jalgaon.
After the Ministry rejected the state government’s proposal in July 2020 due to climatic/edaphic factors making the Jalgaon land unsuitable for the project, the state government planned to move it to Latur, the petitioner alleged.
The PIL, filed by Ratnagiri-based lawyer Vilas Patne through advocate Rakesh Bhatkar, stated, “The biodiversity in the Konkan includes a variety of medicinal plants, which also provide raw material for use in indigenous Indian medicine. The demand for medicinal plants is increasing day by day and the changing global environment is affecting mostly these plants. This reflects the need to study and preserve their diversity. The Konkan area, which is a part of the Western Ghats, has biodiversity variation and is also one of the 32 ecologically sensitive areas in the world.”
Seeking requisite permissions from the state government, the PIL stated, “The located area is most appropriate for such an institute with a natural environment required for plantation and growth of medicinal plants. If it is not used, then there will be extinction of plants and species. Therefore, there is a dire necessity to set up medicinal plant institutions at the approved area in Sindhudurg.”
While the PIL was listed before a division bench of Justice A A Sayed and Justice Madhav J Jamdar on February 5, it could not be heard due to “paucity of time” and is likely to come up before the bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta on February 26.