Terming horticulture as back bone of state’s economy, the Minister for Horticulture, Hajj & Auqaf, Abdul Rehman Veeri Saturday said that focused attention will be given to rejuvenate horticulture industry in a big way. ‘’Horticulture tops the agenda of Government headed by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,’’ he said.
The Minister while addressing a high level Horticulture review meeting at SKICC said that horticulture is a key component of State economy which generates annual income of Rs. 5000 crore, sharing 7 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the State. He said 33 lakh souls comprising 7 lakh families are directly involved with this sector.
Veeri urged functionaries of the department to be proactive and synergize their efforts to ensure frequent farm visits and submit tour dairies to the Administrative Department on monthly basis.
The Minister directed them for holding awareness camps at Panchayat level to disseminate information and share expertise with the orchardists.
The Minister directed the concerned officers to ensure proper testing of pesticides in SKUAST Laboratory within a period of seven days and prescribe only those pesticides which are tested in the Laboratories for use in the orchards.
He said that stringent action would be taken against those found involved in sale of sub standard pesticides.
To overcome the deficiency of manpower in the department, the Minister said that the vacancies would be filled in on fast track basis.
Earlier, the Minister was briefed about the activities of the department through a power point presentation.
The meeting was informed that 2.35 lakh hectare of area is under fruit cultivation in Kashmir division which include 1.63 lakh hectare under fresh and 72,000 hectare under dry fruits. The total fruit production was recorded at 13.54 lakh metric tons during 2014 despite damages occurred September floods.
The meeting was further informed that over Rs. 1311 lakhs were expended under different schemes for the development of the horticulture sector while an amount of Rs. 7743 lakhs have been sanctioned in favour of 6683 orchardists from various financial institutions during the same period.
Referring the demands of employees, the Minister directed for proper maintenance of Horticulture Development Offices at Tehsil level. The Minister also directed for constitution of a three member committee which will submit proposal for reorganization of the department within a week’s time.