10 February: Construction of ‘Common Facility Centre’ initiated at Bhatkanda, Dadeldhura

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Mr Yuvaraj Bhusal, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Common Facility Centre (CFC) at Bhatkanda, Dadeldhura district, Nepal on 10 February 2011. The project is a part of the Common Fund for Commodity funded medicinal plant project being managed by ICIMOD and the Herbs and NTFP Coordination Committee (HNCC), Government of Nepal. The Secretary followed the Hindu tradition of worshiping the land amid the chanting of sacred words by a priest. Mr Bhusal highlighted the objectives and importance of the Common Facility Centre in the lives and livelihoods of the local communities and the environment, and said that he expected the project to become a model in Nepal and the region. He also pledged support from the Ministry in its future course.

Dr Nirmal Bhattarai read the Congratulatory Message from Dr Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD. Dr Bhattarai also highlighted the operation modality of the Centre and suggested measures to make it sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders. Dr Sushim Ranjan Baral, Director General, Department of Plant Resources, gave a brief on the ongoing activities of the project and mentioned HNCC’s plan to complete construction work and operate the facility within six months. The event was attended by about 150 people including prominent Forest Ministry and Dadeldhura district-level officials and various medicinal plant-related stakeholders.