In response to complaints regarding the unauthorized construction of a road through saffron fields in the Zafran Colony area on the outskirts of Srinagar, authorities have taken swift action. The road has been closed, and investigations are underway.
Saffron, often referred to as “the red gold” of Kashmir, has been documented in Kashmiri records since the 5th century BC. It continues to play a crucial role in the agricultural economy as part of the annual crop system and is deeply intertwined with the region’s cultural heritage, especially its renowned Kashmiri cuisine. Protecting this crop is of utmost importance.
Rakib Ahmed, Tehsildar of Pantha Chowk, revealed that illegal road construction was ongoing in the Zafron Colony. He stated, “In response to complaints, we have closed the illegal road that passed through the saffron fields and removed the fillings from the site. We also made necessary repairs to prevent traffic from using the road.” An investigation into how the road was carved out of saffron land is underway, and formal legal action may be taken as deemed necessary.
“We are in the process of verifying the facts, and once all legal procedures are completed, those responsible will face the consequences of the law,” added Tehsildar Pantha Chowk. The situation is being closely monitored, and the agricultural department is actively participating in the investigation as saffron land falls under its jurisdiction.
It’s important to note that under section 133-A of the J&K Land Revenue Act, Svt, 1996, any land used for saffron cultivation must obtain written permission from the Revenue Minister before being repurposed for non-agricultural activities. The Saffron Act of 2007, introduced by the government, strictly prohibits the use of saffron land for any purpose other than growing saffron lullis within the notified area. It specifies that a limited area, not exceeding two Kanals, may be used for residential construction only with prior permission from the relevant authorities. Violating these provisions can result in imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of ten thousand rupees.