Seeking early announcement of compensation to the border area farmers for massive losses caused to crops due to untimely rains, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP & former Minister regretted that despite huge devastation of paddy as well as the agricultural fields, the govt. had failed to announce any relief package. He said that paddy growers had suffered unimaginable damages to their standing crops due to vagaries of weather which needed immediate attention of the government. He said that even where harvesting had been done, massive water logging had buried the produce with the farmers left high and dry. He regretted that non extension of ‘PM Fasal Bima Yojana’ by the Union Territory govt. had further added to the woes of the affected farmers reeling under distress. He further deplored the highly indifferent and apathetic approach of the administration who had failed to pay even a visit to the affected areas to take stock of the situation and to assess the losses sustained by farmers. He was addressing public meetings in Awtal and Nanga Panchayats of Ramgarh Tehsil after touring several border villages of Vijaypur Constituency today alongwith Mr. Yash Paul Kundal, Ex-Minister and Youth President of the Party.
While addressing large gatherings, Mr. Harsh Dev alleged disregard of Jammu’s farmers vis-à-vis the Kashmir orchardists, saying that only in the recent past an order was issued by the govt. fixing the Minimum Support Prime (MSP) for Kashmiri apples by introducing Market Invention Scheme (MIS) without effecting any corresponding increase in the support prices of any of the crops produced by Jammu region farmers. Not only that the govt. was procuring the Kashmir apples through its own agencies so that the Kashmir farmer was adequately compensated for their produce. Mr. Singh pointed out that on September 5, the Union Govt. had announced that for the first time NAFED will be involved tor procuring 13 lacs metric tons of apple from Kashmir at a cost of Rs. 5,000 crores. This was followed by yet another announcement by Union Finance Minister, at a conference on rural and agricultural Finance, directing NABARD to ensure fair remunerative prices for the crops of farmers of Kashmir. While urging the Chairman NABARD to ensure that Kashmir farmers produce was marketed all over the country, the Union Finance Minister gave strict instructions for ensuring fair prices to valley farmers for cash crops including saffron, peaches and walnut.
The Jammu farmers however, particularly the Basmati growers who had been seeking identical relief for damages and fixation of adequate MSP for their produce continued to be ignored and disregarded, regretted Singh. He divulged that the farmers of R.S Pura/border belt raising tradition Basmati crop over 45,000 hectares of land extending from Akhnoor area to Samba had been forced to starvation due to distinction of standy crops open market. “Further Border tensions and frequent Pak shelling has aggravated their woes with a hapless and apathetic govt. least bothered about the concerns of these nationalist people. He said that while the J&K govt. always boasted of rare quality Basmati production in Jammu as compared to other states, it has failed to provide the much needed succor to the cultivating sections and agriculturists engaged in the ungrateful profession.
Mr. Yash Paul Kundal said that the govt. needed to realize that if Kashmir orchardists/farmers are in trouble due to prevailing crisis, the farmers of the border belt of Jammu region were also in distress due to hostile weather and untimely rains besides Pak misadventures carried out by the rogue nation on regular basis
Seeking immediate announcement of relief package for the affected farmers, Mr. Kundal ridiculed tall claims of the centre that Jammu region would be getting unbiased treatment at the hands of govt. after the abrogation of Article 370.
Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Yash Paul Sharma, Inderjeet Singh, Bushan Dass, Nirmala Devi Sarpanch, Arun Khajuria, Vishav Singh, Harjit Singh, Harpal Singh, Talbir Singh besides others.