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Fruit growers estimate Rs 250 cr losses due to rains, hailstorm

Horticulture to survey affected areas; mulling weather-based crop insurance scheme

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Jun 19: Frequent hailstorms and torrential rains in the past one month have dashed hopes of the valley-based fruit growers, who, otherwise, were expecting a good harvest this season.

The losses, although unquantifiable in such a short span, are being estimated to be above Rs 250 crore.

“Using our basic parameters, we peg the recent losses due to hailstorm and rains to Horticulture sector at above Rs 250 crores,” Bashir Ahmad Basheer, Chairman, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union told The Kashmir Monitor.

 

He said they are receiving reports of massive crop loss from all parts of the valley.

“Hundreds of growers from Baramulla, Ganderbal, Budgam, Beerwah, Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama, and Kupwara have faced losses.

“Our orchards seemed to be abundant in apples and other fresh fruits particularly cherry but the frequent hailstorm and high intensity rainfall along with gusty winds have left the orchardists in complete desperation,” Basheer added.

Almost the entire harvest of cherry, Basheer said, has been ruined by the weather vagaries during the last three weeks.

“The hailstorm, winds and rain have not only damaged standing crop of fresh fruits but have also broken the branches of the fruit plants in the orchards,” Basheer said.

The latest challenge follows an equally surmounting ordeal the fruit growers had to face because of frequent and anomalous closure of the Srinagar-Jammu Highway so far this year.

The closures had damaged a vast quantity of in-transit apple and cherry produce.

The amalgam which Bashir heads is an umbrella body of all fruit associations of the valley.

He said that it was the need of the hour for the administration including SKAUST Kashmir, directors of Horticulture department and the planning and marketing wing, to survey the affected areas. 

“They should depute the concerned staff immediately to all affected areas hit by hailstorm, gusty winds and heavy rainfall for the purpose of asserting the losses suffered by fruit growers,” he said.

Basheer said that the concerned authorities should also inform the fruit growers about necessary remedial measures to be adopted in order to avoid further damages.

Secretary Horticulture, Manzoor Ahmad Lone said that the Directorate will survey the affected areas.

“The losses are covered under SDRF. The district horticulture officials consolidate the report of losses and submit it to the concerned DCs. They also check under what norms of State Disaster Response Fund these losses fall in,” he said.

About the estimated Rs 250 crore losses, he said he couldn’t validate the same as he did not have any information about it.

Asked about crop insurance, Lone said the reluctance from insurance companies and high-premiums had proven a detractor for the yield-based crop insurance scheme.

“The cabinet, however, has agreed in principle to introduce a weather-based crop insurance scheme, which has a lower premium. We are looking into its modalities,” he said.


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In this day and age! Five JK districts have NO blood banks

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Five districts in Jammu and Kashmir do not have the facility of blood banks thus presenting the sorry state of basic health infrastructure in the state.
The information was Friday revealed by Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The five districts – Bandipora, Ganderbal, Shopian, Samba, Reasi – share the poor record with 76 others in India.
As per Government of India policy, each district has to have at least one blood bank.
“Public Health, being a State subject, it is the primary responsibility of the State Government to ensure the establishment of Blood Banks as per their need,” the Minister said in his reply.
Lack of blood banks can be the deciding factor between a person’s life and death especially in J&K, which witnesses freak road accidents now and then killing more people in the state than the political conflict.
Such is the paucity of blood that the attendants of patients admitted at tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar have to, at times, resort to crowd-sourcing asking people to donate blood at the eleventh hour.
Like J&K, Meghalaya and Bihar too don’t have blood banks in at least five districts, followed by Telangana, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand respectively, wherein there are no blood banks in four districts each.
The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh tops the list with 14 districts of not having blood banks. This was followed by Manipur wherein 12 districts, and Nagaland wherein nine districts do not have blood banks.
A total of 3,108 licensed blood banks are established in the country, with Maharashtra being on top with 333 blood banks, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 327 blood banks in the state.
In Gujarat, there are 153 blood banks and the national capital Delhi has 60 blood banks.

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Cop guarding Mehbooba’s kin shot dead

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Unidentified gunmen Friday afternoon shot dead a Personal Security Officer (PSO) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Mehbooba Mufti’s cousin brother Sajad Mufti outside the shrine in Baba Mohalla area of Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The slain cop was identified as Constable Farooq Ahmad of Dirpora Khiram. A police official said that he was attacked by militants at Ziyarat Baba Naseer-ud-din Gazi in Bijbehara during Friday prayers.
Farooq was standing guard outside the shrine when he was shot dead by the gunmen.
The former chief Minister’s cousin brother was offering prayers in Masjid at the shrine when his PSO was shot dead.
The cop was immediately rushed to the Sub District Hospital Bijbehara for treatment where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Reports said the gunmen also decamped with the service rifle of Ahmad.
Meanwhile, police paid tributes to the slain cop and expressed solidarity with his bereaved family. “We stand by his family at this critical juncture,” Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.
The wreath laying ceremony for the slain cop was held at District police Line (DPL) Anantnag.
Police officers led by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani laid floral wreaths on his mortal remains and paid tributes to the cop. (KNS)
Senior police officers including IGP Kashmir, SP Pani, DIG SKR, SSP Anantnag and other officers from CAPF laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the slain cop.
Farooq is survived by old aged father, brother, wife, 12 years old son Mohsin Farooq, seven year old Faisal and two year old Zaid Farooq.
“We pay our rich tributes to the martyr for his supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty. We stand by his family at this crucial juncture,” a police spokesperson said.

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3 arrested for abusing minor girl inside Dal: Police

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Police Friday said it has arrested three individuals involved in physically abusing a minor girl inside Dal Lake.
A police spokesperson said that police Station Nigeen received a complaint that a minor girl has been physically abused inside Dal Lake in Hazratbal area.
“Consequently Case FIR No. 65/2019 under relevant sections of law was registered in Police Station Nigeen and investigation was initiated,” the spokesperson said.
During the course of investigation, the spokesperson said, police arrested two persons identified as Tawheed Ahmad Mir son of Showkat Ahmad Mir and Ehsan-ul-haq son of Showkat Ahmad Yatoo both residents of Sadrabal.
However, the third accused managed to escape taking advantage of deep waters, police added.
“A special team under the supervision of SP Hazratbal arrested third person after strenuous efforts. He has been identified as Bilal Ahmad Dar alias Kila son of Ghulam Nabi Dar resident of Dargah. The prompt action of police and the arrest of all the three accused in the heinous crime within 24hrs was appreciated by the community members,” the spokesperson added.

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