SRINAGAR: The Apple Farmers Federation organised a daylong conference in Yaripora Tehsil, District Kulgam, with the slogan “Save Apple, Save Kashmir.” The conference was attended by hundreds of farmers from the area.
Addressing the conference, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami expressed concerns about the mismatch between the claims of development in Jammu and Kashmir and the reality on the ground.
Referring to the problems and challenges faced by apple growers, he emphasised that apples provide a livelihood for thousands of families. However, these farmers are experiencing severe distress due to the lack of remunerative prices and the unavailability of storage facilities. Tarigami stressed that all claims of development remain hollow unless the livelihood issues of common people are addressed.
Tarigami pointed out the alarming rise in unemployment, which has created uncertainty among educated youth. Lack of recruitment opportunities has led to feelings of alienation among the youth. Additionally, he mentioned that scheme workers who receive meager wages are not being paid on time.
Furthermore, Tarigami highlighted the negative impact of government policies on businesses over the last year, leading to significant suffering among the people.
Regarding the installation of smart meters in urban and rural areas, Tarigami noted that people are resisting the move. He raised concerns about the unaffordable rates at which power generated from water resources is being supplied to the people, further exacerbating their livelihood issues.
Tarigami emphasised that the basic denial of democracy and democratic rights is evident in the failure to hold assembly elections. Despite a delimitation exercise that favored a particular party’s interests and reduced the representation of the Kashmir valley’s people, the Central government remains reluctant to hold elections. As a result, CPI(M) demands the immediate holding of elections for the J&K assembly to restore democracy.
Tarigami also called for the release of all political prisoners currently languishing in and outside jails.
The conference’s demands included imposing a 100 percent import duty on foreign apples, providing fertilisers and pesticides to apple farmers at subsidised rates, and constructing cold storage facilities in every apple-producing district.
Other speakers at the event included Kisan leaders Zahoor Ahmad Rather, Abdul Rashid, Ramesh Bhat, and Bashir Ahmad Wani.
Mohammad Afzal Parry, DDC Chairperson of Kulgam, and Mohammad Abass Rather, DDC member, also addressed the gathering.