SRINAGAR A whopping 67% funds out of the Prime Ministers package of Rs 500 crores with Rs 450 crores central and Rs 50 crore state share respectively has remained unutilized as three-year timeframe for implementation of the project for restoring 2014 flood damaged horticulture and its future development expired in March this year.
The information was revealed by Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in response to a question in Lok Sabha, currently in its budget session.
A package for Jammu & Kashmir was announced on 7.11.2015 which included Rs. 500 crore (Rs. 450 crore as Government of India Share and Rs. 50 crore as State Share) towards restoration of damaged horticulture areas and development of Horticulture in Jammu & Kashmir under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, with an outlay of Rs. 111.89 crore, Rs. 171.66 crore and Rs.166.48 crore in Financial Year 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively as 90% Government of India share, he said.
This allocation was in addition to allocation of regular funds under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme, he said further.
The three-year timeframe for implementation of the project approved in 2016-17 expired on 31st March this year, the minister said.
He said entire Rs 450 crores were sanctioned and Rs 197.89 crores were released along with 28.97 crores out of Rs 50 crore state share. Among the centre share, Rs 138.82 crores were utilized, he added.
A survey by Assocham post 2014 floods, had put loss to the apple crop in Kashmir alone at Rs 1,000 crore.
“Floods have washed out Kashmir apple’s crop worth Rs 1,000 crore leaving a devastating impact on growers, an Assocham report had said after an assessment of the crop loss.
Horticulture sector, considered to be the mainstay of Kashmir economy, had incurred an estimated Rs 1565 crore loss due to 2014 floods in Kashmir, according to Horticulture departments preliminary report to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Secretary Horticulture.
According to a survey carried out by J&Ks Agriculture department, Pulwama district had suffered the maximum damage in terms of damage to agricultural produce with losses estimated to be Rs 1104 crore.
The amount includes Rs 778 crore losses to Saffron crop as flood water inundated Pampore town of Pulwama, where most of the Valley saffron is produced.
In terms of area, Budgam district in central Kashmir has been worst-hit as crops on nearly 52,000 hectares of land have been destroyed by the floods.
Although most residential areas of Budgam were largely unaffected by floods, agriculture sector took a big hit as standing crops worth Rs 552 crore were destroyed.
Kupwara district in north Kashmir was also a major sufferer as crops worth Rs 447 crore and spread over nearly 40,000 hectares were destroyed.
Baramulla district also suffered losses to crops to the tune of Rs 386 crore while Anantnag district in south Kashmir claimed losses of Rs 374 crore to agriculture crops.
Shopian district has been the least affected as losses of Rs 66 crore have been reported from there.