North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), with its beautiful 1225 acres campus in Umshing, Shillong, is a pride of not only the Northeast India, but the country itself. Established in 1973, the move to a new campus happened only in 2005. Right from the beginning it has been quietly establishing itself as an Institution of higher learning and research of very high standards.
According to the report cited above, NEHU received research grants of over Rs.64 million (Rs. 6.4 Crores) from various agencies in the financial year 2013-14. The message is clear. Research and development activities are thriving in NEHU!
Visit to NEHU
In our continued effort to stay connected with farmers and the stakeholders in the area of Agriculture, team Zizira visited NEHU in early September 2015 and met with two Professors, Dr. S.K. Barik, Head of Dept. of Botany and Dr. D. Syiem, Head of Dept. of Bio-Chemistry. In the little time we had with Dr. Barik, the topic veered around Lakadong Turmeric - as he had worked with Turmeric farmers in Laksein village to help improve productivity and in setting up an oleo resin extraction pilot plant.
Zizira had visited this village and knew about his contribution. "The Oleo resin plant is ready to be run and used and the product can be exported. All it needs is professional management" Dr. Barik said. We went back to talk to him. Read the interview here.
Regarding medicinal and aromatic plants, Dr. Syiem told us that way back in 1996-97 an extensive effort was made by him and his students to document medicinal and aromatic plants of the region. And, he has worked on Potentilla Fulgens - a herb that can help control diabetes. This is grown in the wild. But if there is interest it can be propagated by tissue culture. Dr. Syiem made an interesting point "Over 70% of allopathic medicines have their origin in herbs. Even Metformin, the popular drug for Diabetes is from a plant".
Zizira plans to talk Dr. Syiem to understand more and we will bring you our report. The clean welcoming campus, well maintained infrastructure, Laboratories bustling with activities, Senior faculty ready to spare their time to share their knowledge – what else do you need to know that this Institution must be producing excellent work.
From our meetings with both these senior faculty members we gathered that many bright Ph.D scholars are working in areas relevant to agricultural productivity and livelihood; number of projects to test new technologies at the field level are on; efforts at bridging the gap between research and the needs of the farmers and the market are underway and so on.
Do you agree, therefore, that NEHU is an University every Indian can be proud of? Have you graduated from NEHU and want to share your experience? Please add them as comments to this post. Have you worked in the area of medicinal plants or unique herbs and spices of Northeast India?
Share any interesting tips or news you may have about the hidden agricultural treasures of Northeast India. Contact us if you have any questions about this piece.