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




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.



FB’s #10 yr challenge: Netizens mock languishing govt projects in Kashmir

Hirra Azmat



Srinagar, Jan 20: The #10year challenge–the latest rage on Facebook is triggering an unintended consequence in Kashmir.

It has thrown light on the abysmal pace of execution of key developmental projects.
In Kashmir, the government works are conceived and launched with much fanfare, but years, and in some cases decades, pass before they see the light of day.

The #10year challenge, new fad that has taken Facebook by storm and involves a person juxtaposing his or her decade-old photo with the current one, has seen Kashmiri people sharing photos of the incomplete government works here.


Netizens mostly share two similar photos of an incomplete pillar of the Jehangir Chowk-Ram Bagh (JCRB) flyover project, which was announced in 2009 and is still incomplete.

The project has missed multiple deadlines. To shut up the criticism they were receiving for the delay, the authorities opened up one way traffic on the first phase of the project, the overall completion of which is still a distant dream.

Announced in 2009, the construction on the flyover, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at an estimated cost of Rs 359 crore, began in 2013, with September 2016 set as its first deadline. The then chief minister Omar Abdullah had laid the foundation of the flyover.

Apart from JCRB, the other major projects which were started years ago but are yet to be completed include: Boulevard widening project, construction of tunnel on the Mughal Road, and widening of an arterial passage in the capital city, Syed Meerak Shah-Zakura road.
Government had approved the Boulevard widening project in 2009 and had directed the concerned authorities to complete the project on fast-track basis. However, the project is yet to be completed.
The next project following suit is the construction of the tunnel on the Mughal Road.
Fourteen years since the Government of India approved its construction, the project is yet to see the light of the day. The project was approved in 2004, when the PDP shared power with Congress in the state. The proposal was for seven-kilometre long tunnel between Zaznar and Chathapani at 3,000 meters altitude on the 230-year-old Mughal road.
However, the work on the project is yet to be started as a result the road remains closed for nearly six months each year.
Similarly, in 2009 authorities started expansion of the Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura, primarily for facilitating smooth flow of vehicular movement through congested areas of old city Srinagar.
The widening project for the 10.33 kilometre road estimated at Rs 336.24 crore was aimed to serve as key surface link to old city Srinagar, Hazratbal shrine and the University of Kashmir. However, ten years have gone by but the project is still lingering.

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257 militants killed in 2018 is highest in 4 years




New Delhi, Jan 20: Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the killing of 257 militants in 2018 – the highest in four years – by government forces, official figures show.
A total of 213 militants were killed in 2017, 150 in 2016 and 108 in 2015.
While 142 militants were eliminated in anti-militancy operations till August 31, the rest were killed in the remaining four months.
An official told IANS that August witnessed the killing of 25 militants – the highest in a single month in 2018.
Also, 105 militants were arrested and 11 surrendered in 2018. The number arrested in 2017 was 97, 79 in 2016 and 67 in 2015.
Government forces also secured surrendering a higher surrender of militants in 2018, which was almost six times more compared to 2017. Only two militants surrendered in 2017 against one in 2016. No militant surrendered in 2015.
The data further revealed that the number of violent incidents were also at a peak during 2018 – almost one-and-half times more than 279 incidents in 2017. A total of 223 violent incidents were registered in 2016 and 143 in 2015.
The security forces also seized 153 AK rifles in 2018 — a dip from 213 in 2017, data accessed by IANS revealed. The number was 178 in 2016 and 177 in 2015.
An official deployed in internal security in Jammu and Kashmir said AK-47 assault rifles were the preferred weapon of militants.
The official, who did not want to be named, said that over 300 militants, including foreigners, were still active in the Kashmir Valley, especially in south Kashmir, which is the epicentre of militancy for over three years now.
“And these militants have been continuously attempting to radicalize youngsters in the Valley to take up arms and to shed fear of getting killed,” said the official.
“Militants were known to monitor activities of youngsters on social media – Facebook and Twitter — who are inclined to militant activities and hardcore religious activities,” the official added.

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Mehbooba among ‘strongest’ CMs of JK: Beg



Srinagar, Jan 20: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehboob Beg on Sunday hailed party president Mehbooba Mufti as one of the most consistent and strongest chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.
Beg, in a statement, said no matter if she is in the government or in the opposition she remained “steadfast”.
“Her politics and conviction finds basis in her ‘pro-people belief’, how she handled the Kathua rape case is a case in-point,” the statement said.
He said that the PDP president resisted the “sinister attempt to disturb and dislodge the tribal community and ensured no politics was played on this issue.”
Beg said: “Mehbooba’s stand was made crystal clear to the all-powerful central government as well, the Home Minister offered unconditional talks, the cases against protestors were withdrawn, the unilateral ceasefire was announced, how can we not appreciate her persisting with pro-people policies and made the BJP agree to matters that were politically inconvenient to them.”
“She took stands very well realizing that she did not have the numbers to dictate terms to the BJP, yet she persisted and since the BJP did not have the intentions to fulfill the terms agreed upon, they had to pull-out,” he said.
He claimed in the statement that the BJP had entered into this coalition by signing on dotted lines, the Agenda of Alliance was a carefully drafted ‘pro-people’ document.
Beg said “it appears that the BJP had no intention to fulfill what they had committed to do, one cannot do much about if somebody intends to cheat and deceive you.”
“We have had people waste historical opportunities. 1996 was a historic opportunity, the government of the day had overwhelming numbers, but did that government dare to take ‘pro-people’ stands? Let history be the judge on that,” he added.

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