Shopian: Many apple growers in Shopian whose land is to be acquired for a new bypass to NH44 are up in arms against the government move, saying that fertile horticulture land that is their source of livelihood is being snatched away.
The proposed bypass, from Rang-Kandal bridge to NH44, is to acquire land from areas including Pinjora, Habdipora, Vehil, Sharathpora, Dachipora, Ayend, Rawalpora and other adjoining villages.
Orchardists say that more than a hundred square feet of their horticulture land, all along the road, is being acquired for the proposed bypass. They said the move will be devastating for the horticulture sector as hundreds of kanals of fertile horticulture land will be going to waste due to it.
An official of the Roads and Buildings department in the district said that the road is being constructed as a bypass for National Highway 44. “The idea to construct it from the said area is to bypass Shopian town,” the official said, and declined to share more details on the land acquisition for it.
Orchardists say that the existing roads should be widened instead of wasting horticulture land which fetches thousands of high-quality apple boxes to them.
They said that it is better land as far as the quality of apples is considered, compared to the apple grown in the lower belts.
Villagers are now demanding that the government relook at the proposal so that a vast area of horticulture land can be saved.
“We have only a few kanals of land and all of it comes under this newly proposed highway bypass. Once it is taken, we will be without any land at all, and thus without livelihood,” Wasim Ahmad, a resident of Habdipora, said.
According to the official, the bypass will be connected with districts Kulgam and Anantnag as well.