SHOPIAN: Orchardists from several villages of Shopian have alleged that despite their whole fruit crops getting damaged in recent hailstorms, no compensation has been provided to them.
Hailstorms have destroyed crops of apple, cherry and pear.
“There is not a single apple or walnut left on trees. Whatever is left is not in a condition to eat,” Muhammad Yasin, a resident of Jamnagri, a village with more than 1200 households, said.
“Another village of the hamlet which has 600 hundred household inhabitants also faced extensive damage due to fruits.”
Another orchardists, Rayees Ahmad Bhat from Reshnagri, said that apple, cherry and walnut crops worth crores of rupees were damaged in the month of June.
“Despite tall claims of government no compensation was given to us from government. We are waiting for the compensation. More than 95 percent of people in our area are solely dependent on orchards and we don’t have any other means to earn our livelihood,” Bhat said.
Officials from Horticulture department said that they had made assessment of orchards which had more than 35 percent damage as per SDR schedule.
“The total estimate of losses in terms of money as per norms of SDR is Rs 60 lacs but as per general estimate the loss is not less than Rs 6 crores,” An official said.
Officials added that they had conducted assessment of 326 hectares of land, which had more than 35 percent damage, and because of available scheme norms, those with lesser damage was excluded.
Chief Horticultural Officer Shopian, Abdul Hameed Bhat told Kashmir Reader that they have submitted the report to Revenue department.
“We have already submitted the damage report to the revenue department and it is up to them now when would they release the compensation,” Hameed said.
Another official told Kashmir Reader that as per SDR norms, the revenue department would pay orchardists Rs 1800 per 20 Kanals of land, where according to orchardists the losses estimates are around Rs 10 lacs.
Earlier in May and June around 50 percent of cherry crop in the district was damaged due to inclement weather.
The district famous for its apples has also faced economic losses due to low yield from past five years.
According to orchardists and experts, this year there was a good increase in quality and the quantity, but in some area the hailstorms and heavy rains destroyed the crops.
Most of the orchardists in district Shopian have taken loans from banks and financial institutions under Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme.
Bank officials say that about 90 percent of orchardists have taken loans under this scheme.