Shopian orchardists decry ‘delay’ in damage assessment

Shopian orchardists decry ‘delay’ in damage assessment
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SHOPIAN: Apple farmers in Shopian district of south Kashmir are decrying the delay in assessment of crop and tree damages from the government. The area largely dependent on horticulture was hit badly by last week’s snowfall, which not only damaged the fruits in orchards, but also damaged a number of trees in orchards.
Decrying, what they called “official apathy”, several orchardists who spoke to Kashmir Reader, asked when the government was going to begin the assessment, and when would they get the compensation.
According to official figures, over 90 percent of people in the district are directly dependent on horticulture sector, particularly apple farming.
Large scale damages by snowfall have been reported from the entire district, with farmers complaining of uprooted, broken and sliced trees.
Orchardists told Kashmir Reader that no official, either from Revenue or Horticulture department, has reached to them to assess the damages.
Nasir Ahmad, a resident of Trenz village of Shopian said that farmers are not able to pick up the repairing process of trees, since they want authorities to assess the damages first.
Another orchardist from the area said that the trees have broken into pieces “while the authorities are in slumber”.
“We want to bind the trees back with the support of ropes, if we don’t do that soon, the broken branches will dry with the exposure of sunlight,” another orchardist said.
Farmers, who have lost both trees and fruits, have similar complaints about the delay in assessment process.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Owais Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that assessments team would reach all the orchardists who have suffered losses due to snowfall.
“There is a huge area to cover and we don’t have sufficient staff. I, myself am monitoring the assessment process and I want to assure orchardists that every single damage caused by snow will be assessed by the administration,” Ahmad said.