Rs 2000 relief a cruel joke: Farmers
Even though Jammu Kashmir government has distributed Rs 118 crore to around 4,41,703 fruit growers whose crop was damaged due to the untimely heavy snowfall in November last year, farmers said the amount was too less to cover the “huge damage” to the orchards.
According to the government, the authorities have disbursed Rs 15.81 crore to 61,677 farmers in Kulgam whose orchards were damaged due to inclement weather. In Pulwama, Rs 13 crore has been disbursed to 46,769 fruit growers.
In Baramulla, Rs 24.73 crore has been disbursed to 1,23,678 fruit growers.
In Anantnag Rs 9.95 crore has been disbursed to 46,080 beneficiaries.
In Shopian Rs 19 crore has been provided to 48,241 fruit growers as compensation to their damaged crops.
Similarly, in Kupwara, Rs 14.23 crore has been disbursed to 55,738 farmers, in Bandipora Rs 10 crore to 23,726 farmers and in Budgam Rs 18 crore to 36,094 fruit growers.
However, fruit growers have called the compensation to their damaged orchards a “cruel joke” on part of the government.
President of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFG), an umbrella body of all fruit growers associations of Kashmir, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said the government was providing Rs 2000 per kanal of land as compensation.
“It is a cruel joke,” he said. “What will a farmer do with Rs 2000? He can't even fix a single tree with this money.”
Basheer said, as per the report of losses received from office bearers of KVFG, the minimum losses of fruit orchards is Rs 5000 crore.
He said it would take at least 15 years for the growers to replace a fresh fruit plant with the broken ones.
President of North Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association, Fayaz Ahmad Malik also echoed similar concerns and called the government's compensation not enough to meet the “huge damage” to their crops.
“I don't think this amount is going to be any beneficial to fruit growers. It won't even pay off their travel expenditure from home to their orchards,” he said.
Under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) norms, Jammu Kashmir government has started distributing Rs 2000 to farmers as compensation for their losses.
Director Horticulture Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said as per the norms, a fruit grower is entitled to receive Rs 900 per kanal to his damaged crop.
“You have to multiply Rs 900 with the number of kanal one has. However, if a farmer owns only one kanal of land in that case they are entitle to receive at least Rs 2000,” Bhat said. “It is not compensation but relief."
However, Bhat said the distribution part was taking place under the supervision of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and did not come under the Horticulture department.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan has directed all the Deputy Commissioners to release all the pending "compensation" for the crop damage and structural damage caused due to the spells of snowfall within a week’s time.