Vast fields with purple flowers, blanketed in a pleasant aroma. A narrow path beside a gushing stream takes you to lavender fields. In the rose gardens here, farmers pluck the flowers to extract rose oil. A hutment surrounded by aromatic crops is used as a farm office by scientists and research scholars. Extremely keen to develop this aromatic paradise as a knowledge and demonstration centre of production and processing for medicinal and aromatic crops is Dr Shahid Rasool, senior scientist at CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu, and in-charge of its field station at Pulwama; around 35 km from Srinagar.
“Farmers, agri-entrepreneurs and research scholars visit this research centre. We have students and teachers from schools, colleges and universities visiting us to know how we work, and conduct research, development and dissemination of technologies,” he says. In one corner of the broad arable land of the field station, concrete buildings house army soldiers. The army occupied the building and the laboratory of the field station at Pulwama in 1990 when insurgency broke out in the Valley. The army used this building as the administrative complex and research facility. The army has also constructed towers for the safety and security of the camp.