Cases filed; identifying culprits for legal action: Officer
Pampore: The Agriculture Department has launched a crackdown against the misuse of irrigation pipes in the saffron fields in the Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Under the directions of Director Agriculture Kashmir, Mohammad Iqbal Chowdhury, a team from the Agriculture Department, led by District Agriculture Officer Pulwama, Shahnawaz Ahmad Shah, has taken charge of the situation. The pipes were initially provided by the Agriculture Department for the irrigation of Saffron fields. However, reports indicate that some farmers have used them for unauthorized purposes.
These pipes were originally part of the National Saffron Mission sanctioned by the Government of India in 2010, aiming to enhance saffron production, officials told Kashmir Reader.
Under the close supervision of agriculture authorities, the initiative is focused on identifying individuals who have misused these saffron irrigation pipes for purposes other than their intended use. This misappropriation not only hinders the growth of saffron, a crucial cash crop in the area but also undermines the Agriculture Department’s efforts to support local farmers.
Addressing the issue, Agriculture Department officials stressed the significance of responsible resource management. “These irrigation pipes were specifically allocated to support saffron cultivation, a vital agricultural activity in the area. Misusing them for other purposes not only endangers the saffron crop but also squanders valuable resources intended for the well-being of our farmers,” they emphasized.
The Agriculture Department has urged the local community to promptly report any instances of irrigation pipe misuse. Strict legal measures will be taken against those found guilty of diverting these resources. The department also plans to conduct awareness campaigns to educate farmers about the proper utilization of agricultural equipment and resources.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, District Agriculture Officer of Pulwama, Shahnawaz Ahmad Shah, said, “Today we started a drive in various areas in Pampore and observed instances of misuse of irrigation pipes provided under the national saffron mission. We received messages reporting misuse of irrigation pipes, and upon investigation, we found that people in several areas are utilizing the pipes, designated for saffron irrigation facilities, for purposes other than irrigation.”
The officer said that wherever violations and misuse of irrigation pipes have occurred, as per the directives of Director Agriculture Kashmir, actions will be taken against those involved. He pointed out that individuals misusing the irrigation pipes are the same ones who tarnish the department’s reputation and later protest against the actions taken. He emphasized the importance of refraining from the misuse of irrigation pipes and urged the public to comply with the guidelines.
Shah highlighted another concern related to saffron fields. There is an ongoing issue where some groups, including the land mafia, attempt to utilize the land for residential and commercial construction purposes. These groups are trying to sabotage saffron cultivation by leaving large portions of land vacant and attempting unauthorized fencing.
The agriculture officer stressed that the district administration has strictly instructed that no construction is allowed on saffron land, as per the Saffron Act 2007. He requested people not to keep saffron land vacant and encouraged them to engage in saffron cultivation, emphasizing the benefits of utilizing the land effectively.
“To prevent this, we have spoken to the people and emphasized the importance of keeping these irrigation pipes secure and using them during designated irrigation hours,” he said, adding, Regarding this matter, the entire agriculture team in Pampore and Pulwama is conducting a drive in the entire Pampore area today to ensure that there is no misuse of the irrigation sprinkle pipes.”
The officer said they have already filed an FIR against those misusing the irrigation pipes and are in the process of identifying the culprits and their locations. Legal actions will be taken against them based on the evidence collected, he said.
He requested all saffron growers on our behalf not to misuse these pipes and to utilize these resources effectively for a successful harvest.