Recently, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, including it on the list of protected plants.
- According to the recent orders, those who uproot or destroy the plant will invite a fine of ₹25,000 and three years imprisonment. The cultivation of this and its possession is not allowed,
- Neelakurinji has been included on the list when the Centre expanded the earlier protected list of six plant species to 19.
About Neelakurunji –
- Neelakuruj is scientifically known as Strobilanthus Kunsthaus,
- It is a shrub that grows in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India.
- The plant is named after the famous Kunthi River which flows through Kerala’s Silent Valley National Park, where the plant occurs abundantly.
- It is found at an altitude of 1,300-2,400 metres.
- The Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, have got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms only once in 12 years.
- It is mainly found in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.
About the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 –
- This act was enacted for the protection of plants and animal species.
- Also, this act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting of these species was largely outlawed.