Saffron growers demand MNCs’ assistance for better irrigation

Saffron growers demand MNCs’ assistance for better irrigation

SRINAGAR: Saffron growers Wednesday asked the state government to rope in Multi-National Companies (MNCs) for expediting the work on irrigation facilities to be provided under the National Saffron Mission (NSM).
“The government had asked the Mechanical Engineering Department to make 128 bore-wells in 2010, but the department has so far completed only two. It is very slow. We ask the government to rope in MNCs so that we can have sprinkle irrigation facilities sooner and the crop yield increases,” Abdul Majeed Wani, President, All Jammu and Kashmir Saffron Growers Development Cooperative Marketing Association, said in a press conference here.
Wani said roping in MNCs for irrigation facilities was the only way of saving Rs 373-crore NSM from failing.
He said even though the saffron growers were against the move of allowing MED to continue with the construction of bore wells, the new government has continued with the decision of the previous government.
“One month back, the government decided that MED will continue with the work. We told them this was wrong but they did not listen. It seems the National Saffron Mission, whose important part is irrigation, is about to fail. The MED will take more than 50 years to complete the project,” he said.
Wani said the growers were not against the MED but they should only be given that much of work which they can do.
He also criticized the government for failing to compensate the losses which the growers faced due to floods and rains.
“The government told us that Saffron will be brought under crop insurance scheme. Forget that, they did not even give us compensation for the losses we suffered due to floods and rains,” he said, adding last year then yield of the crop decreased by over 80 per cent.
The saffron growers also demanded a separate mission director for better coordination between them and the government.