Srinagar/Oct,14: Apni Party’s Senior Vice President Ghulam Hassan Mir on Thursday censured the J&K government for failing to take measures to get the mega subsidy package Operation Greens Scheme implemented in letter and spirit on the ground.
Addressing media persons at the Party office in Lal Chowk-Srinagar, Mir also stressed on the need for an early approval of Market Intervention Scheme in view of the distressed situation in the Horticulture sector across Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am honoured to tell you that Apni Party took up the issue of extension of Operation Greens Scheme and got major fruits of Kashmir like Apple and Pear covered within its ambit through the union government,” he regretted.
Mir said that approximately Kashmir valley alone exports 1950000 Metric Tonne apple to different parts of the country every year which means around 130000 truckloads of apple with carriage charges of Rs 120000 per trailer truck (1000 apple packs with 15000 kilograms carried by each truck) is being paid by an ordinary fruit grower in Kashmir.
“If the union government has approved a 50 per cent subsidy on transport charges under Operation Greens Scheme, you can imagine and calculate for yourself how much our fruit growers can benefit from this scheme. It is the J&K government’s absolute failure to make the fruit growers understand about the contours of this huge subsidy scheme on transportation charges,” Mir observed.
Similarly, he said that Kashmiri fruit growers keep their fruits like apple and pear in cold storage and as per rough estimates there is only 1.5 Lac Metric Tonne cold storage space available for fruit growers in Kashmir valley.
“Our farmers and fruit growers are supposed to pay a huge sum towards cold storage facilities. Rs 1.60 is being paid by fruit growers to keep per kilogram of fruit in cold storage per month which means around Rs 24 per pack of 15 Kgs for a month. This means Rs 24 Crores are being paid by our fruit growers per month for the cold storage facilities. Under the Operation Green subsidy scheme, they can avail 50 per cent subsidy on this cold storage tariff within and outside J&K also,” he added.
Mir urged the J&K government to press into service the field staff of Horticulture and other nodal departments to facilitate the farmers and fruit growers to avail the all the benefits of this subsidy scheme like their counterparts in rest of the country.
“Apple industry accounts for 84 percent fruit market size in India and provides employment to around 27 per cent people with lakhs of families in J&K directly or indirectly depending on this sector. However, the lack of will in the government is impeding its growth and development which consequently impacts J&K’s economic index,” Mir rued.
He remarked that last year’s weather vagaries and the political instability followed by the strict COVID lockdown restricted the movement of packing material and the packed fruit which resulted in more than 10 Lac Metric Tonne of apple produce awaiting sales. “This dismal situation gets further aggravated by the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and the unnecessary halts of fruit laden trucks on this road. Consequently the carriage charges become unaffordable for the farmers and this subsidy scheme can come to their rescue,” Mir observed.
Referring to the Market Intervention Scheme, he said that since the majority of the fruit growers, this season have not been able to sell their produce, the government of India should announce the Market Intervention Scheme without any further delay.