Uttarakhand to set up Biotech park

Dehradun: The Uttarakhand biotechnology department has decided to set up a biotech park in the hill state in order to promote industries based on the technology.

"Uttarakhand being particularly rich in biodiversity aims to convert its bio-wealth into economic wealth through the application of biotechnology by promoting industries based on the above and set up biotech park," the department said in its recently released annual progress report for the year 2010-11.

The proposal for the biotech park came under the state biotechnology programme which seeks to attract entrepreneurs for setting up biotechnology-based industries in the hill state either in an industrial estate mode or dispersed in smaller pockets throughout the state.

The programme also promotes agro-farming and encourage cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants in the state.

The park is expected to house modern biotechnological facility, including bio-incubator and basic infrastructure and common facilities like modern equipments, green house, animal house, business centre and laboratories.

The report said the department has also decided to establish Centre of Excellence on Mountain Biology (CEMB) which intends to promote R & D work relevant to the needs of the hilly region along with state-of-the-art facilities for ex-situ and in-situ conservation and promotion.

The centre would also provide support services in selected allied sectors and also serve the needs of the BT industries. With the sanction of adequate funds, the centre would become functional shortly, it said.

The state government had shelved its plan to set up an IT-BT Park at the industrial hub of Pantnagar three years ago, in the wake of the financial meltdown and various other reasons like unavailability of adequate land.

The IT-BT park, along with a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was proposed at 500 acres area at Pantnagar. The government had roped in Ernst and Young as a marketing consultant in the project entailing an investment of Rs 150 to Rs 300 crore.

Hyderabad-based Ramky Infra Consulting Pvt Ltd had been given the task of project designing.

The Pantnagar IT-BT project was the second IT Park in the hill state after IT Park at Sahastradhara Road in Dehra Dun, which has also developed slowdown symptoms.

The shelving of the IT-BT project was being seen as a setback to the state government`s efforts to accord priority to the biotechnology sector. After released the state`s first Biotechnology Policy in 2004, the government failed to make any significant headway in the BT sector.

Uttarakhand is being seen as a favoured destination for biotech investments as it is endowed with a distinctly rich biodiversity (175 of the 500 species of medicinal plants found in the Indian System of Medicine), availability of quality manpower (72 per cent literacy rate), large number of technical institutes like IIT Roorkee, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Herbal Research & Development, Regional centres of the National Bureau of Plant & Genetic Resources and the Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, etc) and an expanding base of small-medium sized life sciences companies.