SRINAGAR: The conversion of agriculture land for commercial purposes is increasing at an alarming rate throughout Kashmir and if necessary steps were not taken to contain the menace, it would have devastating impact on our generations to come.
The land conversion has been a continuous brazen process in Kashmir Valley and there is a steady increase in the conversion of farmland for non-agriculture use over the past three decades. Various laws and regulation are in place in the state, which prohibit or restrict conversion of agriculture land for non-agriculture purposes, however, because of the lack of coordination among the stakeholders including different Law enforcement agencies; different efforts initiated or put in this direction could not yield desired results on ground. These views were expressed by Director Agriculture Kashmir Syed Altaf Aijaz Andrabi during a high-level meeting convened to discuss the agriculture scenario of the valley.
“Unplanned constructions like raising of colonies, factories, brick kilns, shopping complexes and other commercial establishments is severely affecting agriculture sector of the state”, he said adding that a threat was loaming large as Kashmir Valley shall be without staple food in future if the practice continued, an official handout read.
Andrabi highlighted the role of agriculture department as an important stakeholder and directed the chief agriculture officers, officers of the law enforcement agency and other senior officers of the department to play their role with utmost commitment to check the conversion of agriculture land.
He called upon the officers to ensure necessary steps to increase awareness among the farmers regarding the long-term impact of farmland conversion. He advised that “for increasing production and productivity, need of the hour is to achieve high efficiency levels in the preservation, utilisation of land and water resources, altogether prohibiting conversion of productive agriculture lands for non-agriculture purposes, and taking time-bound measures to check conversion of agriculture land and degradation of water resources”, it read.
The meeting was attended by Joint Director Agriculture Extension/Inputs, Project Coordinator Mushroom, Deputy Director Law Enforcement, Deputy Director Agriculture Central, Plant Protection Officer Kashmir, all chief agriculture officers and other senior officers of the department.