Administrative inertia compounding problems of farmers: Mufti
Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday criticized the “callous attitude” of the administration towards farmers who have suffered massive losses due to recent adverse weather conditions.
The former chief minister said rice cultivators of border belts of Jammu and those growing apple and dry fruits in Kashmir are major contributors to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, and in both the regions, the losses suffered by them due to rain and snowfall run into crores of rupees.
“It seems that the administration, instead of assessing the damage on ground, has fixed the compensation sitting behind the four walls of their offices,” Mufti told reporters.
She addressed a series of party interaction programmes in the border belt of R S Pura and Bishnah on the outskirts of the city.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has declared a heavy spell of rainfall and snowfall on October 23 and 24 as state-specific natural disaster under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) norms for the purpose of providing relief to the affected farmers.
Jammu, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Reasi, Samba and Kathua in Jammu division and Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian in south Kashmir are the districts covered under the declaration.
R S Pura, also known as the rice bowl of Jammu region and the major grower of internationally acclaimed Basmati rice, was the worst hit due to massive damage to the standing Basmati crop.
“I am told that the government has assured peanuts to the farmers of R S Pura, Bishnah, Samba and other plains of Jammu as compensation, where farmers have suffered extensive damage to their standing crops,” the PDP leader, who is currently on a five-day tour of Jammu, said.
She said the sudden change in weather has damaged the crop of farmers and brought them to the verge of starvation, “but government, I am told, has fixed Rs 600 compensation per kanal, which is disgraceful and disdainful for this hard working class of society”.
Taking a dig at the BJP-led central government, Mehbooba said, “The party ruling the country has adopted a hostile attitude towards the farmers across the country and it seems Jammu and Kashmir is no different.
“While they claim to provide free ration to 80 crore population of the country, they seem to miss the point that the one producing this food is the farmer of this country who has been at the receiving end of the ant-farmer policies of this government,” she said, referring to the ongoing protest by the farmers against the contentious agriculture laws of the Centre.
Recalling how former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had deep affection for the people living in the border areas, she said they are the worst hit due to the hostility between India and Pakistan.
“While friendly relations between the two countries are paramount for sustainable peace and development of the whole subcontinent, our people living along the border areas deserve the incentives of such peace the most,” Mufti added.