Relief announced by govt a cruel joke with farmers
Jammu, Feb 8: Demanding full compensation of massive losses suffered by fruit growers due to November 2019 heavy snowfall CPI (M) leader Ghulam Nabi Malik Saturday termed the recent announcement of relief by the government as a cruel joke with the victims.
The fruit crop and trees had also received damages due to snowfall in November 2018 and at that time the government announced minimum Rs 4000 compensation per kanal which was insufficient keeping in view the damages. However, this year the damages were unprecedented as not only the standing crops, but fruit trees also suffered massive damages.
Due to the damages, the growers will be suffering recurring losses in years to come as a tree atleast takes 10-years to grow up. A substantial portion of un-plucked crop also collapsed due to un-seasonal heavy snowfall and broke and uprooted 40 to 60 percent of fruit trees.
But in the name of relief and compensation, the government has played a prank with the growers this year. The Kissan leaders, who visited various parts of Kashmir after the November snowfall, had met Union Agriculture minister and others in Delhi and urged them to declare it as natural national calamity. The growers were expecting a compensation package of at least Rs 10 thousand crore as the horticulture sector not only suffered losses due to untimely snowfall, but due to prevailing situation in Kashmir after August and frequent closure of Srinagar – Jammu national highway.
There is immense need for fresh plantation of fruit trees in such orchards which will take 10 to 15 years to yield and produce new crop. The emerged loss can’t be restricted to one year but the fruit growers, dealers have to bear this loss for at least 10 years till newly planted trees yield fruit.
The Valley fruit industry is on the verge of collapsing and lakhs of people related to this Industry are facing acute hardships to earn their livelihood. Fruit growers and dealers had taken loans to continue or start their business with this hope that after completion of the season they shall be able to refund their loan to concerned Banks.
However, all their hopes were dashed. The government must announce one time waiver of KCC loans to provide some relief to the farmers. The loans have crippled the farmers and growers as their crops have been destroyed and they have no way out.
Similarly, in Jammu region farmers suffered heavy losses due to untimely rains due to which paddy crop was damaged. They have been crying for compensation, but nobody at the helm of affairs is giving heed to their pleas.
It is high time that the government re-assesses losses suffered by the fruit growers in Kashmir and farmers in Jammu and provide them adequate compensation as per national natural calamity norms. Losses must be compensated adequately.