SRINAGAR, Feb 18: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today directed the authorities to book the dealers found to be involved in the adultery of pesticides and fungicides under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA).
“In a significant announcement, Mehbooba Mufti directed slapping of the Public Safety Act on the dealers found conclusively involved in adultery or selling of spurious pesticides and fungicides in the State,” an official spokesman said.
Mehbooba announced this while addressing a gathering of fruit growers and progressive farmers here after launching the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme.
She assured the growers that her Government had flagged their concerns on priority basis and steps were being taken to address them properly.
Terming horticulture as the backbone of the State’s economy, the Chief Minister said her Government was taking a slew of measures to further incentivise the industry.
“With a huge market demand and massive scope for potential realisation, the horticulture industry has the capacity to change the fortunes of not only the farming community, but the entire State with its cascading benefits,” she said.
Mehbooba said it was a matter of satisfaction that the horticulture industry sustained the economy of the State, much ahead of the other sectors, during the last three decades of difficult times.
She announced that 2017 would be observed as the ‘Year of Apple’ to position the fruit industry in the mainstream of the State’s economic discourse.
Complimenting the growers on the launch of the scheme, Mehbooba hoped that they would positively reciprocate the Government’s efforts to rejuvenate the sector on scientific lines.
“With the adoption of these high-density plants, the economic returns of farmers are sure to shoot up,” she said.
Mehbooba said under the scheme, a 50-per cent subsidy would be provided by the Government to the farmers and mega mandis and Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores would be set up at Jablipora in Anantnag and Aglar in Pulwama in the first stage, besides establishment of e-markets for online sale of the produce.
Additionally, she said, the Khadi and Village Industries Board has launched a scheme under which, a 40-per cent subsidy would be provided for setting up cardboard fruit box manufacturing units.
The Chief Minister said, her Government had already launched a market intervention scheme to stabilise the rates of the apple produce and benefit the growers.
She said a network of mandis was being laid to maximise the direct interface between the growers and buyers.
Mehbooba asked the Jammu and Kashmir Bank to further slash the interest rates on the credit to be given to farmers under the scheme.
She also asked the bank to maximise the outreach of the scheme through its branches and use its khidmat centres to popularise it among the farmers.
The Chief Minister directed the Horticulture department to pace up the process of setting up fruit mandis and CA stores as envisioned under the scheme.
Earlier, Secretary, Horticulture Department, MH Malik gave out the broad outline of the scheme, saying high-density plants had a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare as against the 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants.
He said the Chief Horticulture officers and heads of the respective JK Bank branches have been designated as the authorities which can be approached regarding the scheme.
JK Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad, in his address, promised all the support in the successful execution of the scheme.
He said a dedicated team of officers would be deployed at the headquarters of the bank to monitor the successful implementation of the scheme.