JAMMU, December 20: In the last couple of days governments in various states have waived-off loans to farmers which was a long pending genuine demand. It is a welcome step. Similar demands were made in Jammu and Kashmir where small farmers and fruit growers suffered huge losses due to early snowfall on November 3. The early snowfall this season wreaked havoc on orchards in Kashmir, especially in southern districts causing huge losses to the growers.
I had recently written to J&K Governor bringing into his notice this alarming situation. However, unfortunately the demand of loan-waiver in Kashmir has not been fulfilled. It is high time that one-time waiver of KCC loans be provided to small farmers and orchardists whose harvest was damaged by the snowfall. It would benefit lakhs of families who are directly or indirectly under tremendous pressure from the banks. The one-time KCC loan waiver can be considered as one of the components of the relief and rehabilitation plan that can give a sigh of relief to the farming community.
Horticulture is the backbone of State’s economy and the heavy snowfall has dealt a blow to it. Under prevailing circumstances, it is an obligation for the government to come to the support and succor of the farmers and orchardists as they form the backbone of the state’s economy. Given the quantum of destruction caused and massive damage to fruit trees, the Government should provide compensation keeping in view the recurring losses to the farmers.
Due to huge losses, farmers are not in position to repay their loans raised against their farming land and orchards. We demand loan waiver on specified amount of KCC in favour of those farmers and agriculturists who are not in position to purchase fertilizers and pesticides for their farms and orchards.
There is also need for introduction and implementation of Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) as it can save the fruit growers and agriculturists in the event of losses suffered due to natural calamities. We had raised the issue of implementation of CIS in the state in the Assembly time-and-again. Though the announcement of crop insurance scheme was made by the then government, it is unfortunate that the said scheme is not implemented so far in Kashmir.
Farmers, fruit growers and sheep rearing community, who have to bear the nature’s fury time and again, look forward for the government support. But unfortunately, the farming community and fruit growers have always been taken for a ride by the successive governments.