Srinagar Ring Road: Farmers Allege Damage to Orchards, Mustard Crop

Budgam- Affected farmers in central Kashmir’s Wathora  Chadoora are showing strong resentment against the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), NKC Pvt Ltd and District Administration Budgam as JCBs have been pressed into service to uproot the fruit trees and standing mustard crop having been damaged. The farmers who have not received any compensation for land allege that JCB's have damaged their crop and plundered the fruit trees

The affected farmers in a statement said that hundreds of apple and plum trees have been uprooted during the last two days and more than 100 kanals of land with mustard crop having been damaged. The affected farmers said that they have not been paid any compensation till date and the Govt was forcibly trespassing their agricultural land.

“ Some farmers have taken part of the compensation for land but many have not. How can JCB’s damage our mustard crop when me and my extended family have not received even a penny ? The awards have not been prepared in time , they have lapsed long back. This is cruelty. We need justice, “ said Gulzar Ahmad Akhoon, a local resident .

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in association with district administration Budgam and private company NKC Pvt Ltd began cutting down fully grown apple and plum trees in Wathoora Chadoora that are coming under the alignment of the proposed Srinagar Ring Road. The apple farmers allege that the government has paid them compensation as per 1996 rates when the wholesale rate of apples and plum was mere Rs 16 per kg in market.

“The compensation for fruit trees has also not been paid fully. The High Court has intervened and given an interim order in our favour as our awards have lapsed and Govt is still plundering our land and crops” said Bashir Ahmad a local resident

Earlier in Gudsathoo village more than 500 fully grown apple trees were chopped down  last year and assessment was made as per 1996 rates which are 7 to 8 times less than present value.

“We would have appreciated it if we were given advance notice so that we could have tried to transplant the apple or plum trees . Even our small apple trees were uprooted “ said another farmer Ghulam Mohammad

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