SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said the state is on the cusp of a historic change and the present coalition Government wouldmake the people equal partners in ushering in an era of peace and development.
"The Valley has gone through difficult times in the last two-and-a-half decades. But credit must be given to the fruit growers in horticulture sector and craftsmen in the handicraft industry for sustaining the state's fledgling economy.
"Now, J-K is on the cusp of a historic change and the present Government will make its people equal partners in ushering in an era of peace and development," Sayeed said after inaugurating the state's first-ever high-density apple orchard set up by a Valley-based entrepreneur, Khurram, at Bamdoora in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said he sets his goals and prefers achieving them silently, while calling upon the people to feel the change happening on the ground.
"The people in the state have suffered a lot and deservepeace dividend in the form of sustained development and fair and accountable administration. It is not in my nature tofight. I do not like to win fights and lose friends," he said.
Calling upon the farming community to join the pursuit of making Kashmir the 'Fruit Valley of the World', Sayeed said if only 20 per cent of the Valley's orchards take up high-density farming over the next five years, Rs 3000-crore industry would expand five times to a staggering figure of Rs 15,000 crore.
He urged fruit growers to shift to high-density orcharding to enhance apple production, for greater economic returns on their yield.
"Government will diversify horticulture by adopting newer techniques and best practices to survive the onslaught of emerging markets in and outside the country," he said.