SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley may miss its homegrown Nadroo (lotus stems), a cherished seasonal delicacy, for at least two years, courtesy the disturbance caused in the Dal Lake’s ecosystem by the September floods.
Nadroo, the vegetable that grows in the lakes of Kashmir, is considered a treat in the Valley. Cooked usually with fish for a spicy mix that is only occasionally used by most families in the Valley, Nadroo is part of the special dishes prepared on Muslim festivals such as Eid or Navroz.
Barring May, June and July, it remains available in markets of the Valley throughout the year. But its production and consumption peaks during autumn and winter.
However, the floods have deprived the Valley of the local variety of the vegetable by hitting its major source—the Dal Lake.
“We would have been busy these days harvesting the crop, but the floods changed everything,” Mohammad Maqbool Latoo, a grower at Mir Behri in the interiors of Dal Lake, told Kashmir Reader.
Latoo, 65, and his three brothers are famous for cultivation of Nadroo. He alone grows it on an area spread over five kanals of the lake.
He said the lotus leaves, responsible for transpiration of the plant, were during floods, resulting in decomposition of Nadroo underneath the surface.
“On an average, I used to sell Nadroo worth Rs 1, 00,000 each year. But this winter, I don’t have even a kilogram of it to sell,” he said.
Mohammad Aslam Tinda, another grower who owns eight kanals of cultivable area, said: “Nadroo is usually one of our main products that sell in the markets during winters. But this year there is nothing to offer to consumers.”
According to Aslam, an experienced farmer, the production may remain affected in the near future also.
“It may take two to three years for us to be able to grow Nadroo again, for the floods destroyed the Nadroo seeds,” he said.
The growers said 95 per cent of the population living in the interiors of the lake is associated with cultivation of Nadroo.
“Besides losing the crop, we have temporarily lost our occupation as well. Most of us are now doing menial jobs to keep ourselves busy and to earn the livelihood,” they said.
The production of Nadroo in the unaffected lakes in the Valley too has been bear minimum. To meet the demand, the traders are now depending on the supply from Jammu and other northern states.
“Since most people aren’t aware of the fact that floods devastated the Nadroo crop, the demand hasn’t declined. We are, therefore, bound to sell Nadroo that is procured from outside,” said a vegetable vendor at Batmaloo here.