Wednesday, 13 April 2011

If Noida is E-City, Lucknow is B-City

When India’s largest producers of gram -- Punjab and Haryana -- could no longer cultivate the crop due to degradation of soil because of excessive use of chemicals, Uttar Pradesh’s state capital came to the country’s rescue.  Bio- inoculants, a patented technology produced within the laboratories of National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) produced dramatic results both for the growth of the plants and soil. Today, NBRI ( has not only offered path breaking technological support for growing gram, but it is also a leader in transgenic cotton, enriched microbes for ushering organic cultivation, conserving biodiversity, biofuel crops and managing wastelands for optimizing crops.
Uttar Pradesh’s biotechnological achievements are not limited to the research work done by NBRI. For decades, the state has been an important centre of education, with well-respected universities like Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in its midst. Both institutions are well-known for teaching medicine and engineering; BHU, to this day, continues to be ranked among the best universities in India (according to a recent survey of India Today magazine). The tradition of excellence continues well beyond these universities. Lucknow, for instance, is regarded as a B-class town in terms of urbanization. On the biotechnology front, though, the city is next only to Bangalore and Hyderabad. After all, which other city can boast of being home to centers-of-excellence like Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) and Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) and Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), to name just a few.
Many drugs that India calls its own have been produced, right here on UP soil, at CDRI’s ( own laboratories. Some examples are Centchroman (a contraceptive), Centbucridine (a new anaesthetic), Arteether and Bulaquin (both anti-malarial drugs) and so on. That’s not all. CDRI’s Gugulipid (a drug that keeps cholesterol levels under control) and Memory Sure have changed the paradigm of how Ayurvedic recipes can find place in modern medicine. There is no institute that can match CDRI’s fundamental research, while developing products that have done the nation proud.
Giant strides have been made not only in the area of drug research, but also in other areas. CIMAP has made India a Mentha country with its new varieties, aggressive technology translation and proactive rural participation to bring acres-on-acres under Mentha cultivation. That’s not all that CIMAP has given India; with Artemsin (from Artemisia annua) it will also help wipe off malaria from developing countries. In this, CDRI and CIMAP have worked together to develop the anti-malarial drug.
UP is a leader in the areas of toxicology to sugarcane research as well. IITR (earlier ITRC) (, the only institute of Toxicology in the country had always shouldered the responsibility when India has been faced with environmental health challenges. Be it the Bhopal Gas tragedy, shortage of drinking water after floods in Orissa or outbreak of dropsy due to consumption of mustard oil adulterated with argemone oil in Delhi; through its research, IITR developed techniques for monitoring of water quality and its disinfection. With it’s path-breaking research, IITR continues to be an institute of repute in the field of toxicology research, training and testing.
Likewise, Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research ( has played an important role in the development of new varieties of sugarcane and their propagation. The Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) ( is well known for its mango research and introduction of new varieties of mango. SGPGI. ( a super specialty hospital and CSSMU ( (earlier KGMC) are centres of excellence in biomedical sciences and healthcare. In a similar vein, the famous Lucknow University has been a seat of learning and human resource.

Biotech Park, Lucknow ( was set up in a small area with the objectives of providing common facilities to start-up Biotech industries. It sought to provide support to industries for undertaking research and developmental work, apart from scaling up technologies and accelerating their commercialization. It gave an impetus to technologies developed by the research institutions in the city and state, provided critical support in human resource development, in effect, adding to Biotech-city armamentarium. The Biotech park is an archetype and exemplification of bridging the gap between science and technology and learning and entrepreneurship. The park will soon have a WHO-GMP compliant facility being setup by M/s Lifecare Innovations Pvt. Ltd, a R&D based Biotech Company, producer of fungisome for the treatment of fungal infections and Kalazaar.
In view of the above, the city was rightly declared as “Biotechnology City” on January 3, 2002 during the 89th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress held at Lucknow. With rapid infrastructure development, Lucknow is fast growing into a metro city. With several universities and colleges coming up in the private sector, the City is bound to become an important biotechnology hub in the Northern parts.

Prof. P.K.Seth
CEO,Biotech Park


  1. Excellent and well written Article. I am not that much aware of science strength of Lucknow earlier. Having so much scientific capabilities, why Lucknow is not on the top of science map of India. We should advertise these capabilities of Lucknow in proper manner

  2. The progress of any state depends on its political stability and corruption level. Despite these rich institutes serving the state, corruption has creeped even into the academic research hubs.
    This excellent article written points the dedicated and committed scientists of yester years bringing science to the welfare of a common man.

  3. Excellent article. I wish you had also commented on the excellent opportunities around Lucknow e.g. Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur. What is e-city and B-city ? and who cares. We have some of the best educational institutions in this region, the oldest science academy which has the potential to become the pathfinder for innovations and enterprises in the country. You may recall that in one of the NASI Council meetings we voiced concern about the investments to boost biotechnology and we succeeded in establishing the mushrooming growth of biotechnology. I can give you may more examples of success stories but would end with the mention of Ganga Gallery-a must visiting site in Allahabad. V.P. Sharma NASI/ICMR Chair in Public Health Research.

  4. Dear Mr. Sharma,

    Thank you very much for your valuable suggestions. We will be in touch with you by email.

  5. Something to be proud of!

  6. Thank you Sir for the great insight.