by Humira Tabassum
Srinagar: Likewise 2018, as Kashmir witnessed untimely snowfall in November this year affecting the overall fruit business, the fruit growers of village Sirhama in south Kashmir’s Anantnag have sought an adequate compensation from the government.
On November 7, 2019, Kashmir’s Horticulture sector bore the major brunt of untimely snowfall, leaving a trail of death and destruction of different parts of the valley. At least several people lost their lives and orchards suffered huge damage.
Sirhama that produces a huge number of apple trucks to outside market witnessed huge damage of fruits and trees. “We lost our legacy but not a single person from Government visited the spot, ”said a local resident Abdul Rashid who sells a number of apple trucks every year to the outside market. According to Rashid, early snowfall has not only affected the returns of 2019 but is bound to affect the returns from the crops for the years to come.
The local growers told this reporter that despite repeated pleas to the Government no one pays heed to their problems. While demanding a one-time compensation, the affected growers appealed the government to implement the compensation schemes so that growers would not go through such hardships in future.
Another grower, Mushtaq Ahmad, whose damaged orchard is spread over acres, said; “a tree takes at least decade to mature and the snowfall has ruined it all”. Appealing for the compensation, they said the government should provide compensation keeping in view the recurring losses to the growers. With this damage, Mushtaq believes that earning of orchardists’ whose livelihood is dependent on the apple market will come down drastically in the years to come.
Appealing Government for the focused attention towards the affected market, another grower, Nazir Ahmad said that Horticulture is one of the core sectors of the state’s economy providing direct and indirect livelihood to lacks of people have remained neglected by the successive governments.
“Whenever natural calamities occur government does its survey but no one gets compensated,” Nazir lamented.
However, the Horticulture department has now tied up with the revenue department to get precise data about damage. Media reports said that officials will formally approach center to seek compensation for the affected orchardists.