SRINAGAR, May 26: The aftermath of a destructive hail storm that swept through various parts of Kashmir has prompted the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union to call for urgent action from the administration.
The Union today demanded a series of measures, including the assessment of losses, implementation of the Crop Insurance Scheme, and the provision of compensation.
In a statement issued here, the Union described the hailstorm’s intensity as unprecedented, noting that the fruit orchards in districts such as Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, and Budgam had already suffered significant damage from previous hailstorms before this latest disaster.
The Union said that it has persistently appealed to the Government to incorporate the horticulture sector of Kashmir into the Crop Insurance Scheme, stressing the need for urgent implementation of the scheme, as, it said, the previous announcements had failed to materialize.
“Fruit growers and dealers in the valley regularly face substantial losses due to natural calamities, and the union believes that the Crop Insurance Scheme would provide much-needed relief,” the union said.
Furthermore, the Union called for the immediate dispatch of officers from the Agriculture University (SKUAST-K) Shalimar, in conjunction with a joint team from the Department of Horticulture and the Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department.
The purpose of this deployment, the Union said, would be to assess the damage caused by the recent heavy snowfall, rain, and hailstorm and provide necessary guidance to fruit growers on disease prevention for the remaining fruit trees.
Emphasizing the significance of the Crop Insurance Scheme, the Union expressed that its implementation is a long-standing request from fruit growers. “The introduction of the scheme would be in the best interest of valley-based fruit growers, offering some relief in the event of minor calamities.”
In addition, the stakeholders also urged the Government to provide an aid package specifically for fruit and vegetable crops affected by the severe hailstorm, while stressing the Government’s immediate consideration of this legitimate demand is crucial to protect the horticulture sector from further damage.
The Union has appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to issue necessary orders for the implementation of the Crop Insurance Scheme and to take practical steps in addressing the legitimate demands of fruit growers.