Pulwama: The main fruit mandi in Pulwama district remains devoid of basic facilities like sheds and shops. Traders have had to erect their own tents and carry on their business in a haphazard manner here.
The mandi, located in Prichoo area, was originally spread over 36 kanals of land. However, there were just three sheds for traders and growers to keep their stock. After many years, the government procured another 52 kanals of land for the mandi at a cost of about Rs 12 crore. This new land is devoid of any facilities whatsoever, with farmers and traders remaining dependent on the three sheds they already had.
“Even the levelling of the land has not been done,” said Ghulam Hassan, a farmer.
The farmers and growers have set up tents and are conducting business under the open sky, a practice that adversely affects the fruits. Muhammad Altaf, a trader, said that “the fruit rots faster this way.”
The farmers and growers are themselves exposed to many risks. “You can see how dusty the place is. Continuous exposure to dust and to the sun affects our health as well. But we do not have any option because this is the only place where we can sell our produce,” said the president of the fruit growers’ association in Pulwama, Abdul Hameed.
Hameed said that almost every person working at the mandi suffered from chest ailments. Besides, he said, in case of rain it becomes all the more difficult for them to conduct any business.
“I have been repeatedly visiting the authorities and reminding them of our plight but every time I am sent back with the excuse given of lack of funds. How long will we have to endure this?” Hameed said.
Kashmir Reader talked to Director Planning and Marketing, Horticulture department, Imam Din, who said that there were no funds for the development of the new land.
“We have received some funds and they have been utilised for the fencing of the place. There have been no fresh funds in wake of the pandemic. The development work on the place will be carried out as soon as some funds are released,” Din told Kashmir Reader.