PDP to agitation for demands of Basmati growers

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Farmers of J&K have first right on water flowing through the State: Mufti

Bishnah – Reiterating his demand of early completion of the Shahpur Kandi project to improve socio-economic conditions of the farmers of Jammu region, patron of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said that delay in completion of this project was badly affecting farming community of the State. He regretted that farmers from different states are taking benefit of the Ranjit Sagar project but farmers of Jammu and Kashmir, who have high stakes in the project, are deprived for their genuine share.

Addressing an impressive Kissan Conference at Bishnah, Mufti reminded that it was promised to give water to the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir under inter state bilateral agreement through Shahpur Kandi project downstream of Ranjit Sagar Dam. He, however, regretted that promise was yet to be fulfilled and the bilateral agreement is not implemented. He said that proper implementation of bilateral agreement would change fate of the farmers of Jammu region.

The PDP patron said that Jammu and Kashmir has huge natural resource in the form of water and it is on the top of party’s agenda to utilize this natural resource for the socio-economic growth of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He asserted that people of Jammu and Kashmir have first right on the water which flows through this State and PDP has been agitating for this right.  

 highlighting problems of the farming community of Jammu region, PDP patron emphasized the farmers to go for diversification of crops for improve their economic conditions. He said that in the present era of technology it is need for the hour to take benefit of the latest techniques to adopt new methods of farming by shifting to cash crops instead of sticking to the old traditional crops. He suggested the farmers to go for floriculture, horticulture etc to improve their economic conditions.

He said that Bishnah, Vijaypur, R S Pura, Samba, Ramgarh, Kathua and some other areas have potential of growing sugarcane so there is need to establish a sugar mill in this region. He said that setting upon of Sugar mill will be proved as boon the farmers of this region.

Expressing his concern over shrinking of agricultural land, PDP patron said that his party has repeatedly asked the government to bring a Bill in the Assembly to impose ban on utilization of agriculture for commercial purposes. “I don’t know why this government is hesitating to bring the Bill?” he equipped, adding, “there is need to regulate the system to ensure that agriculture land should not be utilized for commercial purposes”.

PDP patron said that UPA Government has decided to bring a Bill in the next session of the Parliament on acquisition of agriculture land to ensure complete rehabilitation of farmers whose land would be acquired for different purposes. “If State Government hesitates to implement the same law in Jammu and Kashmir, our party would bring the same Bill to protect interests of the farming community”, he said and added that PDP is committed to protect interests of the farmers.

Mufti expressed surprise that R S Pura and Bishnah areas are considered as rice bowl of Jammu and Kashmir but the government has not formulated any comprehensive policy for the marketing of the world famous Basmati being produced in this belt. “We will agitate for the demands of the farmers to set adequate procurement centres for purchasing Basmati on reasonable prices”, he said.

PDP patron reminded the gathering that during PDP-Congress regime the then PHE Minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal had made it a point to ensure that water from Ranbir Canal must reach to tail ends. He endorsed demand of free powers should be given to the farmers to run irrigation tube wells at different places. He said that it was duty of the security forces to ensure that farmers could cultivate their land which is situated beyond the fencing.

Dubbing the National Conference led coalition regime as total failure, he said decision to cancel Block Development Council elections at the eleventh hour was nothing but a cruel joke with the people who had voted in large number with a hope that strong Panchayati Raj system would be established in the State.

While pointing towards two different stands taken by the National Conference and Congress on empowerment of Panchayats, he said that it is clear that both the parties which are running a coalition government are not on same page. He said that there is lack of consensus between coalition partners and both Congress and National Conference are equally responsible for depriving elected Panchayat members of their constitutional rights. 

Sardar Trilok Singh Bajwa, Thakur Balbir Singh, Ved Mahajan, Satpal Singh Charak, Hussain Ali Bafa, Surinder Choudhary, Ashok Jogi, Sukhvinder Singh, Kuljeet Singh, Som Nath, Chatter Singh Saini, Ajay Sharma, Dewan Singh, Majid Shapoo, Yashpal Sharma, Inderjeet Singh, Suraj Parkash Sharma, Bana Singh and others also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier in the Kissan Conference a resolution was passed by the participants. Besides other demands, Conference also demanded that support price of the Basmati should not be less than Rs 4500 per quintals, crops insurance scheme for farmers, free power to farmers, reservation for wards of farmers in technical educational institutions and government jobs etc.

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