Now, PSA for pesticide adulterers; Chief Minister tells apple growers

KL News Network

Srinagar

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti inaugurating the J&K Bank’s High DEnsity Apple Scheme. In Picture are J&K Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad and CFO SK Bhat (KL Image: Mehraj Bhat)

Taking a strong exception to the consensus demand by the growers that sub-standard pesticides were running riot with the crop, year after year, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the police to invoke Public Safety Act (PSA) to manage the crisis. She announced the 2017 to be the “year of apple”.

She appreciated the growers who said: “Show us the way to improve and not the support.” She promised them facilitation at all levels in wake of the background that her party had waived off toll tax, set up fruit mundis and introduced the market intervention scheme. She was presiding over the J&K Bank function for launching the high density apple plantation scheme in SKICC on Saturday. It was a function in a hall, attended by bank executives, growers and government officials.

“We are using Public Safety Act against those into drugs and timber smugglers,” Mehbooba said. “I am directing police to use PSA against all those who are marketing sub-standard pesticides.” She said her government cannot go after the manufacturers because they live elsewhere.

“So we will catch hold of their dealers,” she said, “let the dealers ensure that they sell the right product”.

Mehbooba was responding to the intense demand of the growers that the pesticide management needs to be priority. “We get the pesticides and spray and then we face the crisis,” one grower said. “After 10 days we hear the announcement that the particular chemical has been banned. What is the fun of banning it when the loss is already done?”

The government has started the process of implementing two testing laboratories, one each at Srinagar and Jammu, Chief Minister asked the department to speed it up. It was on this instance that the Secretary Horticulture M H Malik, announced that no pesticide supply will be permitted to enter the state unless it is tested on the borders of the state. They will be halted, tested and let go, he said.

The pesticide issue was raked up by almost all the growers who were asked to speak and ask questions by the Chief Minster. Interestingly, the issues were debated in presence of Syed Altaf Bukhari, state’s new education minister, who is a major pesticide manufacturer having sizeable share in the state.In his brief speech, Bukhari said that horticulture continues to be his family business and he feels part of it regardless of the challenges. He advised growers to be put in real effort in change. The government can fund the exercise and there will be facilitation at all fronts but

In his brief speech, Bukhari said that horticulture continues to be his family business and he feels part of it regardless of the challenges. He advised growers to be put in real effort in change. The government can fund the exercise and there will be facilitation at all fronts but eventually it is the grower who can make the real change, he said.

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