SRINAGAR, Nov 16: Demanding that the Government should immediately compensate farmers of Kashmir for the losses incurred due to the recent heavy snowfall and also due to the communication blockade since August, president All India Kisan Sangarsh Samiti (AIKSS), Yogender Yadav today said that they have seen the apathy of Valley farmers on ground and the situation is worst.
A 7-member delegation of the Samiti, which visited the Valley met the delegations of farmers as well as the businessmen and yesterday met the representatives of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industries (KCC&I) here. They said that the snowfall has wrecked havoc on the farmers and demanded that the Government should declare it as National Natural Calamity without any further delay.
Speaking to the media persons here, Yogendra Yadav president of the Samiti said that the farmers in the Valley are treading on double edged sword where they had to face the heat of the communication blockade and also face huge losses due to the untimely snow.
He demanded that the government should not only compensate the farmers, but should also start a survey in order to get an idea of the gravity of losses of the farmers. “I am not talking about the farmers being compensated for the losses incurred due to the heavy snowfall, but also for the period since August. It is for last four months that fruit trade has completely collapsed; it is not that only fruit growers have suffered, the farmers throughout should be compensated,” he said.
While talking about the communication blockade-especially the suspension of internet service-that has continued since August, Yadav said that it (communication gag) has tore apart the demand supply chain of the apple industry. “There has been no communication of the farmer with the trader; where there was a demand of 10 trucks, 100 trucks are reaching there, and where there is a demand of 100 truck, nothing really is reaching there,” he said.
Yadav said that transport has not been available to the farmers and what, according to Yadav, is aggrevating the situation is the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. “You see that trucks have not been able go into the villages, rather, the grower has to transport his produce to the National Highway, where the truck is waiting. On top of that, this year, the transportation costs have doubled this year; the produce took time in reaching the markets which resulted in the deterioration of its quality,” he said.
Saying that there was no adequate warning given to farmers ahead of heavy snowfall, Yadav said that even the farmer has learned to use the phone in order to see what is happening. “If there would have been internet access the farmers would have taken all the precautions before hand; internet has become a need of life and people here have been left out from that,” he said.
Sheikh Ashiq, President KCC&I while pinning hopes to the delegation said the chamber is optimistic that the delegation will present the ground situation of Kashmir Valley at other national forums. “As it was an apolitical visit, we are hopeful that they will be of some help to the farmers; we have apprised them of the ground reality in Kashmir vis-à-vis losses to the farmers; in addition, the KCC&I has also been invited by the Samiti for a conclave scheduled to held by late November,” he said.