SRINAGAR: The state is going to revive its one of the oldest fruit processing and packaging facilities, occupied by the government forces since early ‘90s, the government announced on Thursday.
An official handout issued here said the announcement was made by the Minister for Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu, during his visit to the facility located at Bellow, Pulwama in south Kashmir.
“The state government has decided to revive the apple and walnut processing and packaging plant and cold storage facility at Bellow, Pulwama. The plant is presently under occupation of the security forces,” the handout said.
During his visit, it said, the minister was informed that the processing and packaging plant is one of the oldest plants of J&K Horticulture Produce and Marketing Corporation (JKHPMC), which was made functional in late 1980s.
“However,” he was told, “due to eruption of turmoil in Kashmir in early ‘90s, the plant was occupied by the security forces and continues to be under their possession for the past more than two decades.”
Drabu was informed that revival of the plant would boost economic activity in the area, which is one of the largest apple and walnut producing belts in Pulwama district.
The handout said a number of fruit growers and traders called on the minister, and “strongly pitched for relocating the security forces from there so that it is made fully functional”.
“They said the plant is equipped with latest machinery, which can be put to productive use if the security forces are relocated from the area,” it said.
“Dr Drabu assured the locals that the security forces camping in the plant would be relocated to an alternate site, so that the packaging and processing plant is made functional before the next fruit season,” it added.
It said the finance minister appreciated cooperation of IG CRPF, Nalin Prabhat, in this regard.