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Snow-hit apple growers in Kashmir seek loan waiver, adequate redress to tide over losses

The snowfall was intense in upper reaches of south Kashmir due to which the orchards in Shopian and Kulgam belts suffered heavy damages. 

Published: 30th October 2021 04:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2021 08:52 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

SRINAGAR:  Hit by the last week’s unseasonal snowfall in Kashmir, apple growers have sought waiver of Kisan Credit Card loans and adequate relief from the government saying that their orchards were badly damaged. 

The snowfall was intense in upper reaches of south Kashmir due to which the orchards in Shopian and Kulgam belts suffered heavy damages. 

Mohammad Ashraf, president of Fruit Mandi-Shopian, told this newspaper that the apple orchards in the upper belt of Shopian and Kulgam were worst hit by the snowfall.

He said 25-30 per cent apple yield in Shopian and Kulgam got damaged due to the snowfall.

“However, what concerns us more is the damage to apple trees. About 50-60 per cent apple trees in Shopian and Kulgam upper reaches have been damaged and many of the trees have been totally uprooted.” 

Ashraf urged the government to assess the damages for suitably  compensating the growers. He said the government should waive off KCC loans of Rs 3 lakh and also compensate the losses.

Kashmir Fruit Growers and Traders’ Union president Basheer Ahmad Basheer said in 2019, the government gave Rs 2,000-Rs 4,000 as compensation to apple growers.

“The amount is a joke. It takes 10-15 years for apple tree to grow.” Basheer also urged the administration to introduce crop insurance so that growers can be compensated in cases of losses due to weather vagaries.
 



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