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Dr Farooq asks GOI to come to rescue of horticulture sector

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Meets scores of orchardists at Shopian

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday asked GOI to come to the rescue of Kashmir’s horticulture sector through the sector-specific policy intervention.

This he said at Shopian while addressing scores of Orchardists who had called on him during a brief stopover of his in the District.

Ending his week-long stay in Jammu Province, Dr Farooq retured to Kashmir Province via Mughal road. He was accompanied by number of Party functionaries including Party General Secratary Ali Muhammad Sagar, his Advisor Mushtaq Guroo.

During his brief stopover in Shopian, scores of fruit growers met him and apprised him about the hardships they are facing in wake of administrative apathy.

While interacting with the fruit growers Dr Farooq stated that the issues concerning the Fruit growers are immense and need the timely intervention of the central government.

“Despite the last three decades of uncertainty, the Horticulture Industry in Jammu and Kashmir which is considered as the backbone of the region’s economy was flourishing,” he said.

“Over the past few years the fruit industry in Kashmir has faced severe economic crisis owing to multiple reasons ranging from weather vagaries and the lockdown following August 05 2019 decisions,” he said.

The situation, he further stated was deteriorated by the spread of scab in orchards due to the spray of fake and substandard pesticides and fungicides, which proved to be the last straw that broke the back of the fruit industry in Kashmir. “This reportedly happened due to the wrong advice given to the farmers by the concerned government departments about the spray of anti-scab spray,” he said.

“From transportation, and a slump in rates, closure of Govt owned sale and purchase centers, fruit growers faced multiple problems in selling produce last season. In addition to it sky-rocketing freight prices and undue stoppages of apple-laden trucks on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway badly hit Kashmir’s fruit growers even today. The halting of fruit laden trucks on the highway also had created a crisis-like situation as delays caused huge losses to the perishable fruits. The recent untimely snowfall has further depleted any chance of the industry’s early revival,” he added.

He rued the inattention of the incumbent JK admin towards the plight of the people associated with the horticulture sector and demanded a sector specific intervention from GOI in order to put back the ailing sector back on the path of progress. The package, he added should espouse compensation to affected on MSP on short-term basis.

“For the long term basis the GOI should invest on augmenting the number of Cold storages and reestablishment of sale and puchase centers of fertilizers and pesticides at tehsil levels across Kashmir. A big loan waver for marginal growers will also help to rescue them from impoverishment,” he added.

He also sought compensation for tribals, whose households and living stock have incurred heavy losses due to the unseasonal snowfall. He demanded that the recent snowfall be declared as national disaster and affected be compensated accordingly.

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