Fruit growers of Shopian urge govt to provide compensation; demand bank debt reduction
Shopian, Nov 08: Fruit growers of Shopian district who suffered losses worth crores due to recent snowfall have appealed to the government to provide them compensation; besides, demanding the reduction of debt which they have availed from banks through KCC scheme.
The sudden snowfall in Kashmir, which the fruit growers termed as a catastrophe, caused widespread damage to the mainstay of valley’s economy – horticulture sector. It was the year, 2009 when Kashmir valley had last witnessed a snowfall in the month of November.
One of the fruit growers of Turkewangam village in Shopian district Riyaz, Ahmad Ganai, said that fruit business which is the main source of income for them has suffered heavy losses due to recent snowfall and almost 60% of their orchids have been left damaged.
“There is no guarantee if all the damaged trees can be repaired by using methods like rope tying and using nuts and bolt. We do not know if the repaired trees can regain strength and produce quality fruit in future,” he added.
Growers said that government should provide compensation to growers so that to help them revive their business. “The concerned authorities should depute a team of experts to the affected areas who can advise the growers as to how the damaged trees can be repaired,” they added.
Another fruit grower, Mohd Altaf Dar, in Keller Shopian said: “Growers in Keller belt of Shopian have suffered almost 90% of losses in their orchids which is impossible to repair and it will take 20 years from now to do regain the losses.”
“We are appealing the government to provide compensation to growers and also reduce the bank debt availed by us through KCC scheme. No official of Horticulture department has visited our orchards to take the stock of damage in our area,” he added.
Horticulture officials in Shopian told Kashmir Images that the department is conducting survey of the damage; estimated 30-40 percent so far, on individual levels and the compensation has been fixed in crores for the fruit growers.
When contacted Deputy Commissioner Shopian he said that authorities are preparing the list of growers who are eligible for compensation. “Field visit are being conducted and the final estimate of the damage in the district is yet to be finalized,” he added.