Farmers incur losses worth crores in J&K

Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan

The farmers of Kashmir incurred losses of over Rs 500 crore, as nearly 53,000 hectare of horticultural and 9,000 hectare of agricultural crops were severely damaged by the untimely snowfall.

Worried by the massive losses, the Jammu and Kashmir government wrote to the Centre seeking immediate assistance to provide relief to the farmers.

“As per the preliminary assessment done by the state government’s field agencies, nearly 53000 hectare of horticultural and 9000 hectare of agricultural crops have been severely damaged and the tentative losses are estimated at over Rs 500 crore,” said BVR Subrahmanyam, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary.

Unprecedented snowfall on November 3 and 4 caused colossal damage to apple and saffron plantations. Not just crops, the snowfall has reportedly devastated the orchards, uprooted trees and destroyed the packaging sheds in the affected areas. South Kashmir has been the worst hit.

Preliminary estimates worked out by Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union reveal that the horticulture sector has suffered a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore. Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), however, pegged the initial losses at half the amount.

“The extent of damage is so huge that the state government needs the Centre’s assistance to provide relief to the affected farmers. Given the nature of damage, the victims have to be given relief over and above the amount allotted by SDRF norms,” said Subrahmanyam.

The state government has also urged the Centre to depute a team of experts in Jammu and Kashmir to assess the damages/losses caused by the unprecedented heavy snowfall.

“I would request you to kindly depute a team to the state to assess the damage/losses incurred by the farming community so that they can be adequately compensated,” said the communication addressed to the Union Secretary, Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.