Compensate Orchardists For Damages Caused By Untimely Snowfall: Altaf Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday expressed deep concern over the immense losses incurred upon the orchardists due to recent unseasonal heavy snowfall.

In a statement issued here, Bukhari said the early heavy snowfall has startled the fruit growers across Kashmir division as the apple-picking was still under process at various places.

“The orchardists have to face devastating losses due to this untimely snow. It is not just limited to their yearly produce but even the apple trees have been utterly damaged due to which its repercussions have increased manifold,” he said.

Bukhari asserted that the Department of Horticulture must initiate prompt assessment drives in all the districts wherever the produce and trees have been damaged and also compensate the fruit growers whose lives have been hit with this ominous calamity.

“The government must act speedily to reach out to these orchardists whose hopes have been crushed due to this inclement weather conditions. They must be provided with appropriate compensation besides giving them an extension in loan moratoriums, if any,” Bukhari added.

He further urged the government to bring in comprehensive crop insurance schemes where the produce of the farmers and fruit growers is fully covered in case of such natural calamities.

“We have witnessed nature’s fury many times before where the farmers had to face the brunt of huge economic losses but in absence of requisite insurance provisions, their condition only worsened further. The compensations from the government never adequately sufficed their losses. Thus, it is the need of the hour that we empower our fruit growers by incorporating new schemes that prove beneficial for them in times of such disasters,” he demanded.

Bukhari also urged the government to put all men and machinery on high alert in view of the severity in weather conditions across Kashmir division.

“The administration must remain pre-emptily at guard in case of exigency. Snow clearance machines and medical ambulance service in case of emergencies must be kept ready to tackle any situation. Road connectivity and electricity restoration works should be done on a war-footing basis so that the people will not have to suffer,” he said.

Bukhari also expressed deep grief over the demise of three family members of nomads whose makeshift tent got buried under the soil debris at Noorpora-Tral due to incessant rains.

“I express my heart-felt condolences to the bereaved family members for their irreparable loss & pray for eternal peace to the departed souls. The administration must provide adequate ex-gratia to the family members at an earliest. Besides, District disaster management teams must ensure that families living in such vulnerable areas are temporarily moved to safer places in view of this harsh weather,” he demanded.

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