Friday, June 15, 2012

Threading the needle

Vikas Sinha

Many villagers in Uttarakhand earlier considered Chir pine as a menace but no more now.

How did you come up with such an innovative idea of getting revenues out of fire?

Pine needle is the major cause of forest fire. If we can somehow clear the pine needle, we will be highly successful in curbing the forest fires and this can only be done if this pine needle is linked to livelihood resources of villagers. Forest department sought expertise of IIFM (Indian institute of Forest Management) and FRI (Forest Research Institute), towards devising a long term planning to curtail the raging forest fires in the state. And finally they came up with a wonderful solution. Now we are planning to produce oil out of it and our forest would be safer as well.
So, should we be assured that these forests are safe from pine needle menace?

Yes of course. As soon as we complete the solicitation with these organizations, they will start their operations. They will use these highly inflammable pine needles for making oil. Besides the safety of these forests, they will be also generating tremendous employment opportunities for people around here.
What is the use of pine needle oil?

Pine needle is a great cure for a number of orthopedic problems like arthritis, muscle rupture etc. Besides that, pine Needle is an energy booster and anti-ageing herb. If used consistently, the human body may experience benefits by taking pine Needle oil. These include reversing the aging process, maintaining good health, physical strength, and vitality. It has protein, Vitamin A, Carotene and Iron, which are all required by the human body to function properly. Rutin, found in Pine Needles, is thought to be the compound that cleans blood vessels.

Umesh Joshi, an ayurvedic physician based at Ranikhet, has treated uncountable patients of joint pains and arthritis through pine needle oil. He says,"Pine needle is blessed with magical powers of healing arthritis and several other orthopaedic problems. It is a perfect pain killer."
"I am a patient of arthritis for more than three years. Initially, I was undergoing allopathic treatment but it was very expensive and I hardly found any relief. Then a friend of mine suggested me about pine needle oil and I am in a much better condition now. Recently I heard that it will be produced at a large scale in our state and will be readily available. Now I don't have to travel to Ranikhet always to buy my medicine," said Mahendra Rawat, a resident of Almorah.
Pine needles have been a major cause behind hundreds of forest fires in the state. Chir Pine's leaf parts are like needles and are highly rich in resins. It falls off during autumn and spreads across the floor of the forest during autumn and is primary cause behind flaring up of fires during summers. Uttarakhand forest department has been in efforts of finding a solution to this problem for a long time. Finally they have succeeded not only in getting rid of this highly inflammable object, but also generating revenue out of it.
While 204 cases of forest fires have taken place in the past one year encompassing a total of 2792 hectares of forest area, there have been constant efforts done by forest department to check the spread of fire. Clearing pine needles was of major concern as it is spread almost everywhere and was hardly of any use.
So finally these pine needles have been proven to be of great constructive use. There is a very thin scope of industrialisation in valleys as most of the industrial affairs come at the cost of environment degradation, but production of pine needle oil will bring industrialization with an incentive of forest preservation. Generation of employment opportunities at a massive scale is also being awaited by the people in the state.

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