Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal with Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and MP Tapir Gao in Pasighat

Union ports, shipping & waterways and AYUSH minister, Sarbananda Sonowal along with Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on December 26 laid the foundation stones for capacity expansion of the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR) at Pasighat in Arunachal’s East Siang district.

The expansion projects to be completed at a cost of Rs 53 crore will boost the research and education system at NEIAFMR – India’s first folk medicine institute – and help realize the strength of traditional medicine in the Northeast, officials said.

Speaking on the occasion, Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal said: “Folk medicine has a rich heritage of healing humanity for thousands of years. It has remained among our communities helping generations to enrich their lives.”

“Under the visionary leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi, a sincere effort has been made to rejuvenate the traditional medicine including the folk medicine to bolster our healthcare system and provide people with an experience of enriched life,” he added.

The Union minister added: “Supplementing this effort, the Modi government has committed investment to build additional infrastructure at the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR) which will build its capacity to act as a catalyst to strengthen its research and development in Ayurveda and folk medicine from the region.”

Sonowal also announced that “a new centre on Sowa Rigpa will be set up in Arunachal Pradesh soon”.

Sowa Rigpa is a centuries-old traditional medical system that employs a complex approach to diagnosis, incorporating techniques such as pulse analysis and urinalysis, and utilizes behaviour and dietary modification, medicines composed of natural materials (e.g., herbs and minerals) and physical therapies to treat illness.

He said that NEIAFMR has been working towards scientifically document, record, research as well as validate the folk medicine of the Northeast. The capacity expansion at the Institute includes an academic building, hostels for boys and girl students, staff quarters as well as director’s bungalow.

The investment will cater to develop additional infrastructure for opening of Ayurveda College for imparting quality undergraduate course in Ayurveda, Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) as well as post graduate courses in due course of time.

The new Ayurveda College at NEIAFMR, Pasighat will promote and develop Ayurveda through Education, Research and Extension Services, Sonowal said.

NEIAFMR is a leading institute of India that has been dedicatedly working towards reviving the folk medicine from the region. The rich heritage of Ayurveda can also flourish from the local rich traditional medicinal practices. With this idea, the institute incorporated Ayurveda to further rejuvenate with a wider range of patient care solutions.

“In order to further bolster its effort, we are committed to develop this institute as the national hub of folk medicine,” the Union minister stated.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Pema Khandu said: “We are very happy that an institution of Arunachal Pradesh – NEIAFMR – is working towards harnessing the richness of folk medicine of the Northeast.”

“Under the leadership of PM Modi, the institute’s capacity is being expanded that will not only help the traditional medicine from the region but also is an opportunity to document our age-old folk medicine in a scientific manner for wider application in patient care beyond its traditional geographical reach,” he said.

“The region’s rich variety of medicinal plants with great commercial potential for pharmaceutical, Ayurvedic & aromatic sectors is unlocking commercial avenues for the state as well as for the Northeast,” Khandu added.

NEIAFMR, Pasighat was established to strengthen and develop traditional healthcare, with special focus on the Northeast. It is functioning as the apex Research Centre for all aspects of Local Health Traditions (LHTs) and Ethno Medicinal Practices (EMPs). The Institute has also been working as a common ground for traditional healers, Ayurvedic researchers as well as scientific community in order to scientifically prove & validate the efficacy of traditional medicine towards enrichment of human lives.

The event was also attended by state assembly speaker Pasang Dorjee Sona, health & family welfare minister Alo Libang, Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao, MLAs Kaling Moyong and Ninnog Ering, state information commissioner Gumjum Haider and vice chancellor of Arunachal Pradesh University Tomo Riba, among others.

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