Officials say land mafia behind the opposition
Pampore: Some farmers in Pampore town are objecting to installation of pipes required for sprinkle irrigation in their fields under Saffron Mission, stating that the project (Saffron Mission) hasn’t led to increased production.
“It seems that everything has been done without any planning and research and everything was being carried haphazardly,” claimed Nazir Ahmad, a farmer.
“We would not allow the installation of pipes as we need land for construction,” said Mohammad Shafi, adding that nobody has questioned construction at Konibal village, 3 kilometers from Pampore town.
Officials, however, told Kashmir Reader that the farmers objecting to the installation were backed by propriety dealers who want to construct a colony. Sources said the objections are mainly centred around bore well 7, 17 and 97.
The land falls in Pampore town limits, where real estate prices are plummeting.
Chief Agriculture Officer Pulwama told Kashmir Reader that each bore well irrigates 600 kanal of land and the project was being hijacked by just 30 people who are trying to instigate other people.
Denying the claim that no research was carried prior to digging of bore wells and sprinkle irrigation, Chief Horticulture Officer Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dhobi said the technology has been imported from Spain.
“Nothing in the Saffron Mission has been unplanned, everything has been done after proper research be it the rejuvenation or provision of irrigation,” he said, adding that many teams from SKUAST visited Spain and Iran to learn about the techniques in the leading Saffron producing countries.
Dhobi alleged the farmers were backed by some land mafia to impede the installation of pipes.
“Saffron is our pride and we will make all efforts so that it may not become rare or extinct,” he said, adding that it is one of the identities of Kashmir outside.
The agriculture department has completed work on 91 bore-wells out of 109, out of which work is pending on three because of the objections to install pipes leading to sprinklers.
Dhobi said the Saffron mission was approved by GOI six years back.
“Under the project 400 crore Rupees were allocated for rejuvenation which was done successfully in previous years,” he said.
Dr. Firdous Nehvi, the supervisor scientist said that he had accompanied farmers in project and reiterated use of irrigation “which although seasonal is a must for the saffron”.