SRINAGAR: The government Wednesday asked officials to survey the orchards in Kashmir Valley for ascertaining the reasons of leaf drop in fruit trees.
An official handout issued here said the Horticulture Minister, Abdul Rehman Veeri, sharing concern over the leaf drop in orchards in some areas in the Valley, directed the chief horticulture officers and other field functionaries to make “immediate surveys and ascertain the cause of the disease, which affects the fruit produce”.
The minister, it said, gave the directions at a high-level meeting of the officers held here. The meeting was convened by the minister to take stock of the situation caused by the sudden leaf fall reported from many areas of the Valley, it added.
“The minister directed the CHOs to submit a report of the cause of disease to higher-ups within a week for taking preventive measures to stop further fruit losses. He instructed the experts to prescribe relevant pesticides and fungicides for spray to control the disease and avoid further loss to the fruit especially apple,” it said.
The minister, as per the handout, asked for giving “wide publicity to dos and don’ts for awareness of the fruit growers”.
Stating that horticulture industry, having about 30 lakh people directly or indirectly associated with it, is “the backbone” of state’s economy and that nobody will be allowed “to play with their livelihood”, the minister called for a crackdown against unscrupulous traders indulging in sale and stocking of substandard pesticides and fungicides in various parts of the state.
“All the field agencies of the horticulture, in particular law enforcement wing, have been given strict instructions to raid any establishment found dealing in substandard pesticides, fungicides, and fertilisers,” he said.
Veeri said he will personally monitor the manufacturing and inflow of various kinds of pesticides in the Valley and “wherever the sale of substandard pesticides is detected, stern action will follow not only against the concerned dealers but also the concerned officials of the area”.
The action, he said, will include imprisonment and cancellation of the dealership licence.
He sought cooperation of the fruit growers, traders, and general public in checking the “menace” of substandard pesticides. He said information should be given to director horticulture and concerned district horticulture officers about it for immediate action against the culprits.