Srinagar: Terming the announced scale of relief under “state-specific special natural calamity” for damaged orchards due to recent heavy snowfall as ‘quite inadequate’, CPI (M) Saturday demanded adequate compensation to the farmers, whose trees got damaged due to the unprecedented snowfall that took place on November 3 and 4.
Earlier, the State Executive Committee (SEC) of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) headed by Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam Friday took stock of the extensive damages/losses caused due to untimely/unexpected and intense snowfall on November 3 and 4, 2018 in the Kashmir division.
Given the extent of damage to the agriculture and horticulture crops/produce and farm infrastructure due to snowfall of November, 3 and 4, the SEC approved notifying the snowfall as a State Specific Special Natural Calamity for the purpose of providing additional relief/assistance to the affected farmers from SDRF. Further, the SEC clarified that the untimely/intense snow fall of Nov 3 and 4 will be considered a natural calamity within the SDRF guidelines.
CPI (M) held a protest rally at Press Enclave/ Pratap Park, demanding adequate compensation to the snow affected growers. Farmers from different areas of Kashmir had assembled to participate in the rally, demanding that the region’s Government should take into account the scale of damage caused by the snowfall while finalizing the compensation package.
The rally was addressed by CPI (M) State Secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik, Kissan leaders Mohammad Afzal Parray, Ghulam Ahmad Ganie, Ghulam Rasool, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din and Abdul Rashid Pandit. While addressing the protesters, Ghulam Nabi Malik said the decision of state executive committee (SEC) to enhance the quantum of relief from Rs 18000/hectare to Rs 36000/hectare for damage to perennial crops like apple, is insufficient given the quantum of destruction caused due to the heavy snowfall. Besides, the huge damage to the present crop, the snowfall caused massive damage to fruit trees.
“The Government should provided compensation keeping in view the recurring losses to the farmers. The earning of farmers, whose livelihood is dependent on it, will come down drastically in the years to come. A tree takes at least a decade to mature and the snowfall has ruined the hard work of years of farmers,” the party said in a statement.
Calling on SKUAST experts to give technical support to the farmers, the party said that the Kashmir economy – horticulture – is in shambles.
While demanding one-time exemption of KCC loan to the small farmers and fruit growers whose harvest was damaged by the snowfall, Mohammad Afzal Parray called for implementation of Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) in the state.