Dr Om Prakash Chaurasia, Scientist ‘G’, has taken over as Director, Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Leh-Ladakh from 15th Feb 2017. Dr O P Chaurasia obtained his PhD in Botany from Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Bihar. He joined DRDO as a Research Associate in 1993 & selected as Scientist ‘C’ in 1998 at DIHAR. His immense contributions towards ethnobotany in unique geographical locations that include Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Trans-Himalayan regions have won him accolades from research organizations worldwide. In pursuance of his commitment and dedication for ensuring food security of the troops in strategic Ladakh sector through scientific and technological interventions, Dr O P Chaurasia has been spearheading several projects on vegetable cultivation, protected cultivation, customized green house technologies, microfarming and potato storage technology in one of the most difficult terrains in the world. The large repository of national and international publications authored by him stand as a testimony to his scientific contributions in the field of cold arid agro-technologies. His contributions have not only enhanced local availability of fresh food for troops in Ladakh region but also promoted civil-military cooperation through a unique ‘Pancha Tatwa’ concept. Leading the team for establishment of the DRDO Research Station at Chang La which has been recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records is another feather on his cap.
Dr O P Chaurasia has pioneered the concept of ‘Survival garden’ for troops and has immensely contributed towards development of technologies and herbal products viz., Seabuckthorn Beverage, Seabuckthorn Herbal Tea, Seabuckthorn Soft Gel Capsule, Herbal Antioxidant, Herbal Adaptogenic Appetizer, Herbal Adaptogenic Performance Enhancer, Joint Care Gel, Anti Blemishes Cream from locally available plant bio-resources to improve combat efficiency of troops in high altitude regions. His contributions towards phytochemistry, conservation, propagation and development of targeted nutraceuticals through sustainable utilization of ‘Seabuckthorn’, has been highly appreciated both in civil and military circles. His prowess in herbal product development is evident from 12 patents, he has filed that have resulted in several technology transfers. Dr O P Chaurasia has published more than 100 research papers in various national and international journals and authored books on Cold Desert Plants in 05 volumes and Ethno botany & Plants of trans-Himalaya.