SRINAGAR: During the recent visit of Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to Kashmir, many farmers told him about the dividends of the government’s subsidy scheme on high-density apples. One farmer in the group also informed the minister that the scheme is about to expire, which would leave many deprived of the benefits. Immediately, the minister directed that the scheme be extended for another six years.
The scheme, launched last year, provides farmers with money for half of the expenses incurred on planting high-density apples on their land. This is aimed to increase the production and also introduce new varieties in the market.
Er Aijaz Hussain, former BDC member and former national vice president of the BJP’s youth wing, said, “The presence of the minister in Kashmir and his interaction with the local people made it possible to extend the scheme in one go.”
Minister Tomar’s visit was part of the central government’s initiative of public outreach, with 70 ministers scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir starting from the second week of September. About eight ministers would visit JK each week to meet local people, officials, representatives of DDCs and Panchayati Raj Institutions. Tomar was one of the first ministers to visit in this outreach programme of the government.
“As a BDC member, I see the visit as a game changer. What I cannot do at the local level, due to various issues, the visit of the minister makes it possible, and immediately,” Aijaz added. He said through these programmes he has been able to get the construction work of Degree College Khanmoh expedited, and get the work on road macadamisation done. “I believe these programmes would change the idea of development in Kashmir,” he said.
The outreach programme, Aijaz said, was the result of the success of the first, shorter outreach programme done by central ministers in January this year. Also, many parliamentary standing committees in the recent past have visited Jammu and Kashmir and they included many MPs, whose presence has given a push to governance and development here, Aijaz said.
The scheduled visit of 70 ministers over two months is expected to get development projects started at the ground level.
Aijaz said that the benefits of this outreach would actually come after the visits are over, once the reports are submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office, just like it happened in 2020. The MHA and PMO had then forwarded issues raised by the people to the departments concerned and also pointed them out to the Jammu and Kashmir administration for addressing them, Aijaz said.
For Tauseef Raina, who is the Chairman Municipal Council Baramulla, the visit will likely bring plenty of development without delay. He has asked the health minister, who visited the Baramulla hospital recently, to install MRI Scanning machine, and digital X-RAY machine at the Baramulla District hospital. He also asked him to provide an air ambulance and a Baramulla district child care hospital.
“The minister agreed. We took the number of his PRO, his email, through which we are going to be in touch. The minister said that all the things that are required will be given,” Raina said.