Srinagar, Jun 12: Forty-year-old fruit grower Manzoor Ahmad’s happiness knew no bounds when he had a bumper cherry crop this year. Hit by crop failures previously, Ahmad treaded cautiously this time using better quality pesticides to ensure disease-free produce.
Ahmad’s joy however was short-lived when prices started falling owing to what experts say, the problem of plenty. Coupled with the transportation woes, Ahmad is staring at financial loss despite having a good harvest this season.
“All our efforts seem to have gone waste. The cherry production of the entire area including Dardpora, Kawchakh, and nearby villages is very high. But farmers are not getting desired rates,” Ahmad said.
The harvesting of the cherry crop is currently underway across the Kashmir Valley. On an average 30 trucks carrying cherry boxes leave from Parimpora fruit mandi to outside the state markets.
Horticulture department predicts that the cherry crop production may exceed 13000 tonnes this year. Last year, as much as 11,000 tonnes of cherry was produced in Kashmir.
Pardeep Singh, a local grower from Dardpora village in Baramulla said the frequent halts on the Srinagar-Jammu highway was impacting their business. “Our harvest doesn’t reach to fruit mandis on time. This fruit is particularly perishable and its quality often gets affected if it is not unboxed on time,” he said.
As per the farmers, a cherry box is currently sold at Rs 40 to Rs 50, which does not even meet its production cost.
Sajad Ahmad Bhat a cherry grower from Sopore said a box of double cherry is sold at Rs 100 which is 50 per cent less than its actual price. “ Makhmali, another cherry variety, costs Rs 50, which a year before was selling at Rs 150,” he said.
Bhat claims that the government has failed to ensure proper marketing of cherry in India. “We export cherry in bulk to some selected markets. The government has failed to explore other potential markets for us,” he said.
President Parimpora Fruit Mandi Bashir Ahmad Basheer said they had demanded the government to ensure transportation of the cherry on priority basis.
“We send entire produce to Amritsar fruit mandi. It is then transported via railways to other fruit mandis. Though some quantity is sent via flights to cities including Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore, better road transport facilities are still required,” he said. Fearing more losses, the growers are now demanding that the rail transport facility to the valley-based fruit dealers for timely export of cherry from Kashmir to Mumbai.
Azad on Jharkhand lynching: Keep new India with you, give us old India
New Delhi, Jun 24: Coming down heavily on the government over recent incidents of lynching and crime in Jharkhand, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the state has become a factory of lynching and violence, “requesting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give us our Old India where there was love, culture.”
“Dalits and Muslims are killed there every week. The PM, we are with you in the fight of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We can’t see it anywhere,” Azad said in Rajya Sabha.
“I request you to keep the New India to yourself and give us our Old India where there was love, culture. Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.
“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle, but you’ll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us India where Hindus, Muslims,Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” he said.
In yet another lynching incident, a Muslim man was beaten up mercilessly for over 18 hours on the suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Kharsawan district on Saturday. The 24-year-old victim, identified as Tabrez Ansari, was attacked by a mob on June 18 and was later handed over to the police. He had been in the judicial custody since June 18 and was taken to a hospital on June 22 after his condition deteriorated. On the same day, Ansari succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
Several videos of the incident emerged on social media show a man hitting Tabrez brutally with a wooden stick while forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The videos of the Jharkhand mob lynching case have gone viral on social networking sites ever since the incident came to the light.
GoI approves amendments to give more teeth to NIA
New Delhi, Jun 24: The Union Cabinet is learnt to have approved a proposal to amend two laws to give more teeth to the NIA in probing ‘terror’ cases in India and abroad, sources said Monday.
Separate bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days to amend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they said.
The amendments will also allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources aware of the proposal said.
Amendment to Schedule 4 of the UAPA will allow the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have ‘terror links as a terrorist’. As of now, only organisations are designated as ‘terrorist organisations’.
The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attack that had claimed 166 lives.
Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.
Another proposal to introduce a bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians could not be taken up Monday.
A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.
“The agenda of the Law Ministry stands postponed,” a functionary said.
As of now, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered.
The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is as of now available to service personnel only.
Another proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters could not be taken up on Monday.
As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.
The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.
Youths click selfies, walk alongside Leopard in Kishtwar
Srinagar, Jun 24: Pointing towards the increasing man-animal conflict is J&K, a video that went viral on Monday shows a few youth carelessly walking right alongside a leopard on a tarred road while clicking photos and videos in some mountainous region.
The incident reportedly took place in Chingam area of Kishtwar district. The video shows at least three youth audaciously ambling near the leopard that, surprisingly, isn’t aggressive.
The incident comes to the fore days after days after two leopards were spotted in residential areas of Budgam and Srinagar.
Deputy conservator of forests, wild life division, Kashmir, Rouf Zargar had told The Kashmir Monitor that one female leopard and an adult cub were spotted at Ompora, Budgam.
“They were spotted in the adjacent villages of Budgam and Airport. We are doing our best to trace them. Till the time we catch those, people should refrain from moving out during nights and in the wee hours,” he said.
There has been a spike in man-animal conflict in the last few years with several incidents of attacks by bears and leopards taking place in multiple areas of the valley.
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