Jammu and Kashmir Bank on Friday announced the creation of a distressed apple growers relief fund for extending help to the snow-affected apple growers of the State.
“Rs.11 crore have been pooled in the fund which includes three days salary donated by the staff of the bank and Rs. 5 crore from the bank’s CSR fund,” said bank spokesman in a statement.
“Notably, recently untimely snowfall on November 3 and November 4, 2018, left a trail of destruction and devastation, turning vast expanses of orchards into scenes of mayhem, with trees bruised, bent and broken,” the spokesman said.
“Huge quantity of fruit got damaged in the heavy snowfall. It’s worth mentioning that the government declared it as State Specific Special Natural Calamity,” he added.
J&K Bank Chairman & CEO, Parvez Ahmed, while sharing the details of the fund said, “We were deeply pained and anguished after seeing the colossal damage that the recent untimely snowfall has caused to apple trees.
“As a humble gesture, J&K Bank employees and management have unanimously decided to contribute their three day’s salary for rehabilitation of the affected growers,” said the spokesman.
“The Board of Directors of the Bank too in a magnanimous gesture approved a contribution of Rs. 5.00 Crore from the Bank’s CSR funds for relief and rehabilitation of the distressed farmers,” he said.
The chairman stated that a corpus of Rs.11 Crores has thus been set up as ‘Distress Relief Fund’ to be distributed among the most affected growers to help them procure new trees in place of completely damaged trees, repair/ rehabilitation of partially damaged trees, procurement of other essential items required to enable the growers to get back on their feet and get empowered to move on with persistence and hope.
He further said that the interests of apple growing community, which is the backbone of the horticulture sector of the State, has always been a matter of special attention for the Bank.
“It was with the aim of providing hassle-free and low-cost loans to this section that JK Bank had specially designed the Apple Finance Scheme and coupled with the subvention, the scheme empowered the growers to go for farm inputs of their choice and markets of their choosing. Over the last few years, the grower community was improving on many parameters with a tangible feel of empowerment. The untimely snowfall has, however, come as a spoilsport and the affected growers have to start again” he said.
He further added that J&K Bank is an integral part of the society in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and values the trust & loyalty of the people. It has always been at the forefront for handholding the various sections of the society in times of distress in line with its theme of ‘Serving to Empower’.