Less Rainfall, Rapid Urbanization Take Toll Of Kashmir’s Golden Crop

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PAMPORE:  Kashmir’s golden crop, Saffron is dwindling fast as according to cultivators this year the production level would be less than 15 percent. 
The saffron cultivators in this town attribute deficient rainfall as the major cause of low production.
But cultivators also blamed rampant urbanization, government insensitivity and non- implementation of modern scientific procedures in the field level for decline in saffron produce.  
The saffron cultivators from Pampore and its adjacent areas including Khrew, Zantrak, Lethpora, Wuyen, Chandhara, Samboora, Shar, Konabal, Chathlan, Meej, Andros, Gandabal, Batapora, Wahab Sahab, Patal and Ladar are disappointed and waiting for the immediate relief from the government.
Bilal Ahmed Dar from Konabal said that last year they had a bumper crop and he earned a profit of Rs 2 lakh. “Every year I cultivate saffron on my 60 kanals of land and reap maximum benefits, but this year not only me, but all the saffron cultivators are bound to suffer heavy losses as there is no production at all,” he said.    
“As far our estimation, there would be 80 per cent decrease in its production this year. We are finished and expect immediate relief from the government,” Dar added. 
Pertinently, Pampore town of district Pulwama which is the highest producer of the Kashmiri saffron has been under the influence of urbanization with large scale constructions going on owing to its proximity to Srinagar.   
Another cultivator, Ghulam Muhammd Bhat said that they won’t be able to pay back to Jammu and Kashmir Bank loans that they have taken under Kisam Credit Card scheme. “I had taken Rs 2 lakh from JK Bank under KCC scheme that I spent on purchasing seeds and engaging labourers. Like other cultivators I won’t be able to pay back that amount with interest to the bank as there is almost no production,” he said appealing to the Government to provide them some relief so that they would come out from this trauma.

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