Srinagar, Dec 14: Horticulture department has tied-up with revenue department to conduct “in depth” assessment of damages caused to the apple orchards due to the snowfall on November 7.
Horticulture sector bore the major brunt of November 7 snowfall, which left a trail of death and destruction in Kashmir. At least seven people lost their lives.
Preliminary assessment conducted by the horticulture department revealed that 30 per cent of orchards suffered damages due to the snowfall. Horticulture department has now tied up with revenue department to get a precise data about damage.
“Horticulture in Kashmir is a very vast field and it wasn’t possible to get an exact figure of damage in shortest possible time. So the department is now conducting orchard to orchard assessment, which is going to take some more time,” Javed Ahmad Bhat, Deputy Director Horticulture department, told The Kashmir Monitor.
Bhat said Chief Horticulture Officers (CHOs) have been given responsibility to conduct damage assessment exercise with revenue department officials.
“Our officials will conduct a very technical assessment. They will see how much damage is caused to orchards. Special focus will be on the chances of survival of the damaged tree. Similarly, revenue department officials will record the financial loss,” Bhat said.
After completing the assessment, J&K government will formally approach Centre to seek compensation for orchardists. “Administration has raised the issue with Centre which has given us full assurance for compensation,” he said.
According to the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFG), an umbrella body of all fruit associations of Kashmir, 80 percent of fruit trees were uprooted due to the untimely heavy snowfall.
“Fruit orchards have suffered about 90 percent damages. It would take at least 15 years for growers to find replacement for uprooted trees,” KVFG President Bashir Ahmad Basheer said.
Besides compensation, fruit growers have demanded free supply of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers for five years.
Last month Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, directed district development commissioners to ensure completion of the assessment of loss occurred to orchards due to snowfall.