In what could prove to be a stiff competition for Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's 'Patanjali' range, the Maharashtra government has started selling Ayurvedic medicines and herbal products derived from its forest produce.
A first-of-its-kind shop was recently started in Nagpur by the state government under the 'Van Dhan Jan Dhan' scheme. The shop has sold products worth more than Rs 2 lakh within 25 days of its commencement. Buoyed by the success, the government is considering starting two such shops at every airport and at every railway station across the state.
According to an official from the Forest department, in a meeting held recently Baba Ramdev's Ayurvedic products were discussed. "We thought that if Baba Ramdev can capture the Ayurvedic market, whose products are derived from our forests, why can we not take an initiative and use our traditional knowledge of making medicines from forest produce," the official said.
Maharashtra Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that tribals have an in depth knowledge on the kinds of plants that can be used as medicines for certain diseases. "We have never seen tribals dying of a heart attack nor seen them suffering from diabetes or blood pressure. Even if they get injured, they use leaves of some trees and they are completely cured the next day," Mungantiwar said.
"The knowledge has come down from generations but none of it is on paper. We have decided to use their traditional knowledge, and sell products made by tribals. People will be benefit and tribals will also get employment," he added. The first 'Van Dhan Jan Dhan' shop recently started its operations with 45 various items on sale.
"We are considering to start two such shops at every airport and railway station across the state. The shop will be of 300 sq ft area and an identical model of shops will be adhered to," the minister said, adding that the government targets a big turnover from these shops in the next five years. "Baba Ramdev have done great work in the Ayurvedic sector. We do not think of him as a competitor but we will try that our products also reach people as much as his," Mungantiwar said.
A consulting firm will be hired to study forest products in each district. Specialty of a particular forest will be found out and will be displayed in every shop. The initial fund will be allocated from State Innovative Council funds for planning and operational expenses. Teak seed powder, Alovera powder, Bhui awala churna, Amla powder, Nutgrass powder, Touch me Not powder, Tulsi powder, Adulsa powder, Jamun Powder, Jalbrahmi powder, Herbal washing powder, Bija glass (for diabetes), Mahua oil and Mahua jam, Adivasi Achar, Kumari Assav and handicrafts from forest woods are some of the products that will be available at 'Van Dhan Jan Dhan' shops.