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At 50, Haseena is an apiarist, trainer, and much more

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By Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar, April 15: She is not just an Apiarist, but also a land owner, employer, house builder, mother, and a proud trainer.
Haseena, 50, runs a Bee Farm named ‘Oriental Apiary’, which is famous for selling pure honey.
She sells honey at her home in Naidyar, Rainawari, in this summer capital of the state, on the banks of Dal Lake.
She inherited the farm from her father, Ahmad Ali Khan.
At a very young age, she came out of her comfort zone to take over the farm, which her father ran about 27 years ago.
Now, the family of three sisters depends on the honey production from the farm.
“I was very interested in bee keeping. I have learned about it at a very young age from my father. I used to watch him doing it,” says Haseena, who is renowned for her hard work and willpower.
She has six helping workers whom she also trains in bee keeping and honey production.
Her efforts and quality of honey have earned her a clientele in many foreign countries.
“I have clients in Canada, Australia, USA, Japan, China, and many other countries. My clients were also Mick Jagger, lead vocalist and co-founder of The Rolling Stone, Tunji Banjo, a former professional footballer of Nigerian-Irish decent, Yash Chopra, late Bollywood producer, and Karan Singh, the last Dogra heir of Kashmir,” she says.
“My main aim is to sell locally-made pure honey in the bigger markets.”
She successfully collects honey, package them attractively in small bottles, and supply them to the customers.
She attracts her customers with her knowledge of honey varieties and their medicinal values.
“My foreign customers come on Shikaras to buy honey. I am very confident about the quality of my product. Even I know all the types of bees in different countries and methods of bee keeping. I have around 2,500 bees in my Oriental Apiary,” she says.
Since the September-2014 floods, she has been rearing an Italian bees at Harwan, Srinagar, for honey.
“My father has imported these Italian Bees after the Kashmiri bees died due to Varroosis, a parasitic infection. These bees do not produce a large amount of honey, but are disease free,” she explains.
She says no pesticides or chemicals are used on the plants in order to preserve the bees. Instead, she uses a more natural approach using oils to fight off insects, she says.
“The process of bee keeping is very sensitive. It needs a proper method and care. The bees are very much a part of what we do in a natural way,” she says.
She says as soon as she has bulk of honey, she starts selling it where people can benefit from it.
Haseena’s life was not so easy. Her early marriage did not last long. She was divorced soon after giving birth to a boy, leaving her in a dire social and financial state.
Her journey into business has been harder than others’. But braving all odds, she has become a self-reliant character spreading sweetness.
“A woman can become successful even in an area away from her comfort zone, if only she keeps her dedication and willpower up in difficult times, “says Haseena.
It gives her immense satisfaction to be doing something that she loves and make money out of it.
“I really love my apiary. I liked it since my father used to run it. Collecting honey from these beehives is an extremely challenging and precarious task. I send workers to collect honey, but I look after everything with proper care to ensure quality of the products,” she says.
‘Lotus’, ‘almonds’, ‘saffron’, ‘apple’ and ‘lily’ are some of the varieties produced in her apiary.
“The type of honey we get from bees highly depends on the season and blossoming of flowers. June is a favourable season. Our production of honey is completely handmade. We do not use machines and chemicals. This is also a reason why our honey is famous everywhere,” she explains.

 
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Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.

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Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri

Traders fear losses in crores

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.

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Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.

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