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Rafi Mir urges Govt to formulate suitable horticulture policy for JK

Srinagar, Nov 06: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir has urged the Centre and the state government to formulate a suitable horticulture policy for J&K with a protective cover for orchardists and implement them in earnest to rescue the orchardists from the debt trap and to save their lives.

In a statement issued here, Mir said, noting with regret, thousands of orchardists have been affected due to untimely snowfall and these orchards being the only source of income for the orchardists, they will fall apart if the government won’t immediately intervene”.

He said that already the majority of the orchardists are in the debt trap as successive years have been of bad crop and there was no way out for them in absence of a viable and concrete support from the government.

“Kashmir horticulture industry has been battling weather vagaries and the input costs are soaring all the time high. Snowfall and hailstorms ravage the crops and there is no relief for our orchardists,” Mir complained.

Unfortunately, the governments were washing their hands off by announcing formulation of policies and little was being done to address the problems afflicting the sector. The PDP Chief Spokesperson said that PDP during its tenure in the government, initiated formulation of a comprehensive horticulture policy including a protective insurance cover for growers, but with untimely fall of the government, the fate of that policy is unknown.

Stating that the state government should immediately announce a minimum support price for market intervention, he suggested that the state government should announce incentives of waiver of loans, the establishment of a responsive and user-friendly helpline for orchardists and a crop insurance policy should be reformulated to see that each orchardist who loses crop gets the insurance. He said many states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Punjab have wholeheartedly supported the farmers in times of distress without going into financial implications, why cannot the J&K Government lend a helping hand to our orchardists who have no other source of income. When the Punjab government can make market intervention to support their farmers, by announcing a support price for potato crop, why cannot J&K government intervene on similar model for our apples? he asked.