Shopian: At the time when a lot is being commented on the recent killings of Hindu and Sikh civilians in Kashmir, two Shopian friends, one a Hindu, the other a Muslim, are running a dairy farm together.
Mohammad Rafiq Malik, a Muslim from Palpora village and Shubam Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, a resident of Chodergund village, are the two friends who are jointly running a dairy farm for more than a year and half now.
Their villages are situated some four-five kilometers away from district headquarters of Shopian.
Malik said they started the farm some eighteen months ago on a piece of land which belongs to Shubam Bhat. He said that the farm was started with seven Holstein Friesian cows and today they own 32 of them.
Both the friends said that the main motive of starting this joint venture was to provide fresh and unadulterated milk to the people.
Shubam’s is among the very few Pandit families in Chodergund village which didn’t leave Kashmir in 1990s.
Malik said that he and Bhat are friends from a long time and their friendship was the reason that they started this business together.
He said that so far they have invested around 50 lakh rupees. “Thank God, it proved a successful business,” he said.
The friends said that their high breed cows produce over 200 litters of milk everyday and they milk the cows twice a day.
According to an official, under the Integrated Dairy Development scheme, a beneficiary is being provided five cows with a subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh.
“Five cows make one unit and a single beneficiary can set up as many as 10 units,” the official said.
Mailk said that they don’t need to sell their produce in open market since many of the customers come to their farm and buy the fresh milk for their domestic consumption.
Since the induction of government’s subsidiary scheme for starting dairy business, dozens of educated youth have opted for this business. However, the example of communal harmony that Bhat and Malik have set is especially needed in Kashmir.