Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today released a book on Snakes of Himachal Pradesh, which is compiled and edited by Principal, State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Omesh Kumar Bharti and Dr. D.D Bisht. The Chief Minister evinced interest in the documentation on venomous and non venomous snakes of Himachal Pradesh and said efforts were required to create awareness among people of the state on this issue.
The book contains the photographs of snakes at different locations in Himachal Pradesh, which have been documented and identified by a team of researchers led by Dr. Anita Malhotra, a molecular biologist from Bangor University in the United Kingdom, of which Dr. Bharti was a part. The team caught snakes in the jungles of Himachal Pradesh with the permission of wildlife wing of the Himachal Pradesh Forest department, took their venom and DNA samples before leaving them back in the same habitat. The DNA and venom samples of the HP snakes are being tested in the laboratory in Tejpur University Assam with the help of Dr. Archana Deka from department of molecular biology.
Dr. Bharti said the book has been published with funding from National Health Mission (NHM) in Himachal Pradesh. The snakes in the state have been identified to create awareness among people about snakes found in Himachal Pradesh through this book. The team is also doing a bigger study through tie-ups with advanced labs in the country to know whether the anti snake venom available in the market can neutralize the venom of snakes of Himachal, Dr. Bharti informed the Chief Minister.
Padma Shri awardee in medicine, Dr. Bharti is on the panel of World Health Organisation (WHO) for snakebite management and is the National Principal Co-investigator of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study on snakebite incidence in the country, which involves 13 states across the country, including Himachal Pradesh.
Education Minister Rohit Thakur and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthi were also present on the occasion.