GUWAHATI, Jan 2 � Noted botanist and founder general secretary of the Botanical Society of Assam Professor Ranjit Nath Bhattacharjee has made a strong plea for a botanical garden in the State.
Bhattacharjee, a former Professor and Head of the Cotton College Department of Botany, said that though the demand for the botanical garden was placed by the Botanical Society, Assam before the State Government 16 years back in 1998, there has been no effective move on the part of the Government to fulfill this plea of the Society.
Botanical gardens not only help in building knowledge and expertise in plant taxonomy, horticulture, biodiversity inventory, conservation biology, restoration ecology and ethno-botany, but also help in conservation of representative flora, including the endangered ones.
Botanical gardens also play an important role in introducing new crops and plants of economic value from across the globe. Modern botanical gardens are merely not collection centres of living species. They possess sophisticated facilities for research, preservation and multiplication of rare and endangered species.
A botanical garden has a great educative, cultural and recreational value.
But the most regretful fact is that the State, despite being in one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, has not made any serious attempt to develop a large botanical garden to exhibit and conserve the rich floristic resources of the NE region, including the endangered ones.
It is a widely accepted fact that the region is a place of origin of many divergent plant species of high economic value, which are now under serious threat. Their genes are the heritage of the earth and a common wealth of entire mankind as these genes have evolved through the evolutionary process and cannot be allowed to be extinct, said Prof Bhattacharjee.
Since the in-situ conservation of the germplasm is becoming difficult due to unabated anthropogenic intervention, efforts may be made for their ex-situ conservation, he said.