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Horticulture loss due to snowfall: Kashmir Chamber wants Govt to implement crop insurance scheme

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Srinagar, Nov 5: Following a recent snowfall that left thousands of the apple orchards damaged all over the valley, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday sought the attention of government officials towards the in-principle approval for adopting the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) for horticulture crops such as apple and saffron given by the then Cabinet in March, 2018.

The spokesman said that the declared objective of the in-principle approval was “to provide insurance coverage and financial support to farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of adverse weather incidences”.

He said that the preliminary assessment of KCC&I suggesting upwards of Rs. 500 Crores, to our Horticulture Industry, the KCCI wants to know the reasons for Kashmir, having a production of more than 80 percent of the total production of the Country, being the only place deprived of this safety cover.

 

The KCC&I is happy to learn that the Crop Insurance Scheme is operational in Jammu province since Kharif 2017 but at the same time anguished that being more prone to the vagaries of nature, Kashmir stands ignored in this regard. We understand that the clock cannot be turned back but as the delay has cost our farmers and orchardists dearly and our horticulture sector stands in its own ruins.

Kashmir Chamber: the new team elected to office in September 2018- (LtoR) Nasir Hameed Khan, Sheikh Ashiq, Dr Abdul Majid Mir, Farooq Amin, Sheikh Gowhar Ali and Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon

The trade body in a statement has asked the advisors of the Governor of J&K, Khurshid Ganai, Vijay Kumar, Bharat Bhushan Vyas, and the Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu & Kashmir to answer the following questions.

The questions are, Identify the persons in the system who by their negligence, willful or otherwise, have delayed the implementation of the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in Kashmir?

Will the State own responsibility for the failure to provide this cover and how it will compensate this sector?

Despite the adverse weather forecast available more than three weeks ago, what steps were taken to protect the life and property of the population?
The spokesman added that Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry would expect His Excellency to now take effective measures to provide all possible support to our Horticulture Sector in these times of distress and pain.

 

SKUAST issues advisory for orchards affected by snowfall

Srinagar, Nov 5: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology (SKUAST), Kashmir today issued an advisory for the orchards affected by the snowfall elaborating a number of steps for the growers to protect the produce from damages.

As per the advisory, growers have been asked to drain out excess water from the orchards by making drainage channels. “If the fruit trees have tilted, reduce the canopy load by pruning and provide proper support to the plants,” the advisory reads.

Growers have been advised to slowly pull back the trees to the original position after heavy pruning and provide proper support/staking to the main trunk to prevent further fall/ movement, if the trees are partially uprooted.

“If the top portion of the tree is broken, slantingly cut the damaged branch 2-3 inches below the broken point and apply Bordeaux /Chaubatia paste on the cut surface,” the advisory said.

Further, if any scaffold branch is broken and bark is still intact, bring the branch to the original position by tying with a rope and/or using stainless steel nails. Ensure that the union remains tight and apply Bordeaux/Chaubatia paste on the cut surface.

It says if the main trunk is split into two or three parts it can be treated the same way as aforementioned.

Moreover, if roots have become exposed/naked, immediately cover the roots with soil to avoid further damage.
According to the advisory, fruits still on the tree be harvested immediately for sale/storage.

“Clear the snow fallen on heaped harvested fruit in orchards and store the fruits under proper cover (in sheds) to prevent it from frost injury.
“Maintain orchard sanitation by removing debris and damaged plant parts and collecting fallen fruits, leaves and twigs and dispose of them by burying/composting,” the advisory added.

 

Dir Horticulture visits snowfall affected districts in south Kashmir

Srinagar, Nov 5: Director Horticulture Kashmir today visited the snowfall affected districts of South Kashmir for assessing the situation created due to the untimely snowfall.
The Director Horticulture Kashmir was accompanied by a team of Officers and field functionaries of the Horticulture department and officials of the Revenue authorities.
During his visit, the Director took stock of the situation and gave on spot instructions to the concerned officers of the department for issuing an advisory on post-snow damages for remedial measures in order to safeguard the un-harvested fruit crops and damaged fruit trees. The officials were asked to assess the loss and damages caused to the un-harvested fruit/fruit trees and fruit plant nurseries of the area and furnish the same to the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir, so that the Government can be apprised of the damages and the losses occurred to the fruit crop/fruit trees due to this unexpected snowfall accordingly.
Moreover, the Chief Horticulture Officers of the Kashmir valley have been directed to gear up their field functionaries for providing advisory on post-snow damages for remedial measures in order to safeguard the un-harvested fruit crops and damaged fruit trees and related technical guidance to the orchardist community for tackling the situation.

 

Fruit industry backbone of Kashmir’s economy: Mehbooba

Srinagar, Nov 5: PDP President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday while meeting delegations from Sopore and Khansahib areas stressed for the mitigation of the losses incurred by Kashmir’s fruit growers, stating that the government is duty bound to safeguard Kashmir’s horticulture sector which acts as a backbone to state’s economy.
According to party spokesman, the PDP chief held detailed deliberations with the people from north Kashmir’s Sopore and central Kashmir’s Khansahib areas and sought details from them about the aftermath of the recent unseasonal snowfall and the damages incurred by the orchardists at large in Kashmir.
Mehbooba underscored further the vitality of the horticulture in the state while highlighting that same is the mainstay of the economy in Kashmir with 2.3 million people associated with the sector and 237,000 hectares of land in the valley under fruit cultivation.
She added that the change in the weather pattern in Kashmir has been hitting Kashmir’s fruit industry over the years and that from the record apple production of over 2.2 million tons in 2014, climate change and unseasonal rains and snowfall has restricted the crop to mere 1.3 million tons as per various estimated.
The PDP President added that the recent snowfall in Kashmir has wrecked havoc on region’s fruit growers with damage caused to the crops turning calamitous with each passing day. She further added that the government is duty bound to mitigate the losses incurred by the farmers and fruit growers in the state so that they could save themselves from getting debt-ridden and being caught in the midst of the tumultuous times.
Mehbooba said comprehensive assessment of the losses must be initiated without any further delay by the government and the areas which are far- flung and where damage is massive merits government’s immediate attention.
As per the spokesman, PDP General Secretary from central Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Irshad Ahmad Kar and various party functionaries who were also present during the meeting that was chaired by the PDP chief.


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Kashmir

Roads dotted with risky potholes in Sgr city, no concern for Govt

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Srinagar, Apr 25 : Notwithstanding considerable improvement in weather conditions, authorities have failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.

In absence of timely repairs, most of the roads including Srinagar Airport Road, Jehangir Chowk, Tourist Reception Center, Radio Kashmir, Ram Munshi Bagh, Sonwar, Batwara, Rangreth, Rawalpora, Sanatnagar, Dalgate, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Nowgam, Batamaloo, Lal chock, Bemina, Qamarwari and MA Road are dotted with potholes.

The authorities have so far failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.

 

The people here said that though they visited the office of the district administration and Chief engineer Roads and buildings many times with the request for repairing the broken roads, but their requests have fallen on deaf ears.

“The condition of most busy and import Airport road is pathetic. Bad road make it difficult to drive on this stretch. ,” said Tahir of Humhama Airport road.

Inordinate delay by authorities to undertake repairs of Srinagar Airport is taking a heavy toll on the commuters.

The road is dotted with potholes and rough surface. The road has caved in at several places posing risk to commuters.

“We wonder why the authorities are sitting on repairs on this vital stretch” asked Nisar Ahmad, a local.

The road from Qamarwari, Noorbagh to Dalgate is in a bad shape causing inconvenience to commuters, especially students and office-goers.

“Nobody from the administration bothers to take steps to make the bumpy roads functional for the smooth traffic,” said a government employee.

“A distance which should be travelled in less than 40 minutes takes more than an hour because of the potholed roads of the city,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, an auto rickshaw driver.

“The non-seriousness of the authorities can be gauged by the fact that in the month of March, Chief Engineer R&B Sami Arif had said that the repair work of roads has been started. Almost two months have passed now, but no roads in the city have been repaired. It seems that the Chief Engineer is ignorant and does not bother to look into the matter,” said one of the commuters.

Road from Qamarwari leading towards Valley’s lone tertiary care hospital, SKIMS Soura is in shambles. This poses risk to lives of patients who are referred there from other hospitals,” said Mohammad Ismail, a resident of Safakadal.

During rains, the dilapidated roads turn into cesspools. “When water remains stagnant for a long time, it further damages roads,” a shopkeeper in commercial hub, Lal Chowk said pointing towards damaged stretch of road.

Taking the cognizance of the bad situation of the roads in the district, the Srinagar district administration in an order issued to R&B Department on April 10 sort details about officials and contractors for criminal proceedings. Even former chief minister Omar Abdullah has expressed concern over bad condition of roads.

Meanwhile most of the roads in Shaher-e-Khaas including Alamgari Bazar, Soura, Nowhatta are dilapidated.

The roads in rural areas are also in mess. Reports said that the roads in North and south Kashmir are in shabby condition, and travelling is proving to be back breaking experience.

The angry commuters here also accused Roads and Buildings (R&B) department of having failed to carry out necessary repairs of the roads.

“What is the fun of macadamizing when it (macadam) doesn’t last long? The authorities should take into account the hardships suffered by the commuters,” they said.

The experts believe that lack of planning, poor quality control and drainage system are the primary causes for the poor condition of roads in the city. They said that that poor drainage leads to accumulation of water on the roads that eventually washes off a patch or leaves the roads with potholes.

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Mismanagement on Jmu-Sgr highway: Ill planning causes crippling losses to state economy, says KCCI

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed serious concern at the lack of proper infrastructural planning and mismanagement of traffic which is causing crippling losses to the economy and suffering to the general public.

The frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar road link due to landslides and shooting stones, unscheduled declaration of one way movement, the two days closure for movement of Security Forces and the harassment of travelers due to multiple check points has resulted in the development of an abnormal situation of people being dissuaded from using the Highway.

A spokesperson of KCC&I today said that although the Jammu- Srinagar highway suffered from minor problems earlier also but the condition since last year has been unprecedented. The journey from Udhampur to Srinagar a mere distance of around 200Km- has turned into a nightmare. Vehicles laden with goods have been stuck at various places for weeks together. Documents submitted by members of the KCC&I show that some trucks have been stuck at Udhampur since 10th of April.

 

Transportation of livestock including poultry and sheep towards Srinagar and movement of fruits from Srinagar to outside the valley has also been severely hit. There are reports the fruit sent from Kashmir has reached various Mandi’s in a bad condition. Tourist vehicles are also stopped and we have reports that tourist groups have often taken more than 20 hours to reach Srinagar which has disrupted their booking schedules and programs. Tourists are therefore avoiding travelling by road. In view of the huge monetary risk involved, movement of perishable goods including frozen products has reduced to almost nil. Transporters are now flatly refusing to ply their vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar Sector. Losses caused to various sectors are mounting as the sector has been rendered unviable due to the reasons enumerated above.

The situation in the capital city of Srinagar and other major townships of the valley is no better. Traffic bottlenecks, jams and inadequate management manpower at all major and peripheral junctions has choked the roads. Srinagar seems to be the biggest casualty of ill-conceived planning over the years.

The conversion of a motorable bridge at Rajbagh into a footbridge is a case in point. The wastage of crores of rupees of public money into the creation of a foot bridge when the choked public is gasping for more road links is a bizarre decision. Same can be said of the erstwhile Zero Bridge which could have – with appropriate reinforcements – provided necessary traffic disbursal linkage for light one-way traffic. The Government has, in its wisdom, converted two motorable bridges into foot bridges and built another footbridge near the Museum in a stretch of around 1.5 km whereas the requirement is for providing of multiple motorable bridges across the Jhelum. The Government seems to be oblivious to and unconscious about the miserable plight of the public who have to waste hours every day while commuting to work on these routes. After the Durbar Move, the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.

The Government needs to take immediate corrective measures to rectify the abnormal situation which is clearly moving towards an economic collapse. But at the same time, it also needs to re-assess long term infrastructural requirements as it cannot be digging wells every time there is a fire.

The Kashmir Chamber has also been pressing for the early opening of the Mughal Road and in this regard appreciated the efforts put in by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir for issuing necessary directions for diverting road opening machinery for this purpose. The efforts put in by the district administration of Shopian especially R&B Department, Mechanical Engineering Wing has resulted in the clearance of the road upto Peer Ki Gali despite inclement weather conditions and heavy snow. The blockade is now on a stretch of about two kms falling in Jammu Division which we have been assured will be cleared up within a week. The KCC&I strongly recommended that the Mughal Road should be developed as an exclusive corridor for uninterrupted movement of civilian traffic during the summer months in addition to correcting the problems on the National Highway.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry also urges for conversion of the Foot Bridge to Motorable bridges, as originally planned adequate augmentation of personnel for management of traffic throughout the valley is also recommended.

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Rattled Mehbooba desperate to generate sympathy: BJP

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday said that low voter turnout in her perceived bastion in phase one of the Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency has rattled Mehbooba Mufti so much that she has upped the ante as far as her anti-India tirade and pro-separatist agenda are concerned.

In a statement issued, Brig Gupta warned Mehbooba Mufti that in her quest to generate a sympathy wave, she continues to boast about her defiance of the instructions/advisories issued to her government by the Central Government. These statements of are confession of her betrayal to the highest constitutional post while in occupation of which she was working against the national interest.

“She also continues to emotionally exploit the local Kashmiris through half-baked truth and spin-doctored statements. Knowing fully well the difference between international trade carried out at Wagah and barter trade across the LOC carried out at the two trade facilitation centres, one each in Jammu & Kashmir regions, she continues to mislead the Kashmiris through statements like “if trade via Wagah can continue, why not the cross-LOC trade?” Since majority of the rural population in Kashmir does not know the difference between the two types of trade they get emotionally swayed and get carried away by her anti-India propaganda that “Central Government wants to subjugate the Kashmiris and squeeze them economically.” Nothing can be farther from truth rued Brig Gupta. As a responsible mainstream politician and ex-CM of the state she should be explaining to the people the real intent of the government which is to curb terror funding so that the menace of terror can be eradicated from the Valley and peace restored for the benefit of common Kashmiri,” said Brig Gupta.

 

“The recent revelation of how the cross-LOC trade was being manipulated by the ISI through Pak based Kashmiri militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is an eye-opener and should enlighten the Kashmiris about the false and malicious propaganda being carried out by Mehbooba just for the sake of votes so that she can remain relevant in the corridors of power. I appeal to our brethren in Kashmir to not to get swayed by the motivated and false propaganda unleashed by her,” he said. He said “While Mehbooba has a soft corner for terrorist turned separatist Yasin Malik and is threatening the Central government to release her, she has not uttered even a single word of condemnation against cold-blooded murders carried out by him of Indian Air Force personnel and many Kashmiri Pundits. It further confirms her anti-minority and pro-terror mind set which is not only dangerous but contemptuous as well.”

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