KL NEWS NETWORK
Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Thursday announced a slew of measures aimed at reviving Sopore’s prosperity and economic boom while promising to expedite the ongoing projects in Valley’s premier apple town to make it a major fruit marketing hub.
Sayeed inspected Sopore’s Terminal Fruit Mandi, Sub-District Hospital and Bypass Bridge, which is nearing completion after missing several deadlines. He also interacted with several prominent citizens and invited suggestions for improving basic facilities in the town.
The Chief Minister was flanked by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Mufti Sayeed, Minister for Horticulture, Haj and Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Health & Medical Education, Ch. Lal Singh, Minister for LJ&PA and Relief & Rehabilitation, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Minister for Public Works, Syed Altaf Bukhari, MP, Fayaz Ahmad Mir, MLA Sopore, Haji Rashid Ahmad Dar, MLA Rafiabad, Yawar Dilawar Mir and MLC, Muzaffar Parrey who were also present on the occasion.
Describing horticulture as the bedrock of its export-oriented industry which sustained the Valley’s economy when it fell on hard times, the Chief Minister announced up-gradation of Sopore Fruit Market on modern lines so that it matches the benchmark standards.
He also sanctioned Rs.4 crore for improvement of roads within the fruit mandi premises and its periphery to facilitate movement of fruit-laden trucks in and out of the fruit mandi. “The Government will promote fruit business of Sopore town and revive the days when people used to call it as Chota London,” he said while addressing a gathering of fruit farmers.
Asking the growers to explore air transport for export of quality fruit to outside markets, the Chief Minister promised that Sopore Fruit Mandi will be upgraded to match international standards and will have add-on facilities like CA stores, packaging and grading line, soil and pesticide testing labs, online trading and dedicated transport terminals. “We have already announced market intervention scheme for Sopore and Shopian towns for quality control,” he said adding that fruit growers will also be provided insurance cover against weather vagaries.
He also sought cooperation from leading fruit growers for establishing cold storage chains for quality improvement of fruit, in particular apple, as has been done in Lassipora, Pulwama, where several CA stores have been set up in Industrial Growth Centre (IGC).
While inspecting the premises at under-construction Sub District Hospital (SDH) Sopore, Mufti Sayeed asked the Health Department to upgrade it as a Model Hospital, powered with all modern equipment and manpower to meet day-to-day healthcare needs of the people.
“So far, Rs.31.65 crore have been spent on the 200-bedded hospital, which will also have six operation theatres and cater to a large population living in and around Sopore town,” the official spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister inspected the Sopore Bypass Bridge, being constructed by Border Roads Organization, and issued directions for making it operational in the first week of August, next month. He also promised to prioritize the de-congestion of the main Sopore town from heavy vehicular traffic.
Once complete, the bridge will provide alternate access to Handwara and Kupwara, bypassing the main market of Sopore.
The Chief Minister also issued instructions for beautification of Jhelum embankments around Sopore to improve the town’s ambience. The Chief Minister also announced construction of an additional filtration plant to improve the quality of drinking water. The construction of additional filtration plant will augment the water supply presently being sourced from Sharakwara Pipeline.
The Chief Minister directed the Tourism Department to create facilities for zaereens at Ziyarat Shah-e-Hamdan, Sopore, under Pilgrim Tourism.
The Deputy Chief Minister sanctioned Rs.1 crore for improvement of lanes and drains in Sopore town. He also assured that the streetlights in the town will be made functional very shortly.