The Bold Voice of J&K

Celebration inappropriate when production declining: farmers

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Two day Jeshn-e-Zaffran concludes at Dusoo Pampore

SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: The two-day grand “Jashn e Zaffran “festival celebrating the saffron bloom took place at Indian International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre (IIKSTC) in Dusoo Pampore, located in the heart of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
At the inaugural function, senior officials, including Secretary Agriculture Shabnam Kamli, Director Agriculture and Director Horticulture Kashmir were present.
The festival’s agenda was not limited to saffron blossom but cultural programmes also to promote tourism and other activities
During the festival, the officials faced the wrath of saffron farmers. Soon after the officials began to speak, some farmers stood up and talked about the authorities’ indifference towards the saffron cultivators and issues related inadequate irrigation facilities.
The farmers said that the authorities were doing little to save the saffron production.
“There has been a significant dip in the yield and the government has not done anything”, said a miffed farmer while expressing concern over the saffron corms being attacked by the rodents.
Another farmer said that he was requesting the officials sitting on the podium to give him just two minutes to speak about a host of issues confronting the farmers. The farmers said that “in the absence of the dripping irrigation system, the prolonged dry spells take a toll on the crop”.
It is pertinent to mention that the government had introduced a drip irrigation system in 2010 after it rolled out the Rs 412-crore National Saffron Mission to fight the dry spells.
Soon after the festival, a video of miffed growers castigating the officials was circulated online. Additionally, the farmers pointed out to the absence of saffron in saffron fields despite the ongoing festival celebrations, with allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Meanwhile, Director Agriculture said on the occasion that the programme is aimed at facilitating interactions between buyers and sellers, hold symposiums and engage young farmers, with the goal of empowering the younger generation, providing employment opportunities, ensuring agriculture sustainability and increasing farmers’ income
Regarding the issue of incomplete bore well in saffron fields, he said that out of 121 bore wells, 72 have been handed over to the farmers. Some farmers, however, have damaged or diverted pipes for other purpose. An FIR has been lodged for investigation and the findings will determine the appropriate course of action.

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