Srinagar: Former finance Minister Altaf Bukhari on Monday termed the compensation announced by the government to the fruit growers, who suffered huge damages in recent heavy snowfall, as a ‘cruel joke’.
In a statement Bukhari said that the horticulture sector in Kashmir Valley suffered huge losses on account of heavy snowfall in November last year coupled with frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
“Due to November 2019 untimely snowfall around 70 per cent to 90 percent trees carrying un-plucked crop collapsed and around 40 to 60 per cent of crop producing fruit trees were uprooted. Now paying rupees 900 per Kanal to the fruit growers, as announced by the government, is akin to rubbing salt into their wounds,” Bukhari observed.
“We all know that fruit industry is considered to be the backbone of J-K’s economy. However, the hostile climatic conditions shattered all the expectations of this industry resulting into huge losses to growers, most of whom have lost their livelihood,”he remarked.
“The fruit growers were expecting a generous package from the government as compensation for their losses as was assured by the government itself. However, the peanuts offered by the government this time have disappointed lacs of families associated with this industry directly or indirectly,” Bukhari added.
He said the compensation offered to fruit growers must be revised and should commensurate with the magnitude of damages suffered by the growers.
“The government must keep into consideration the damages suffered by the fruit growers which were unprecedented this year and revise its compensation accordingly,” he demanded.
Similarly, he said that in Jammu region, the farmers suffered heavy losses due to untimely rains due to which paddy/Basmati crop was damaged. “The farmers of Jammu region have been crying for compensation, but nobody in the government seems paying any heed to their pleas,” he observed. .
Bukhari said that the losses suffered by the farmers and fruit growers in Jammu and Kashmir must be re-assessed and the compensation be paid as per national natural calamity norms.