Subsidized seeds yield grass, not crop in Khag

Farmers accuse Agriculture department of deceiving them

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Srinagar, Oct 29: Farmers of central Kashmir’s Khag tehsil are up in arms against the Agriculture Department. Reason: The subsidized paddy seed the department had distributed among the farmers has yielded only grass on nearly 1100 kanals of paddy land in the area.
 Over 400 farmers had used the seed in their fields. The farmers from over 11 villages of the district told Greater Kashmir that they were “deceived” by the department and the seed they were provided was “fake”.
 “The officials of the department came to us in April. They gave us the seed and promised it would yield best crop. But unfortunately there is only grass in the fields, no paddy crop,” Malik Mushtaq of Khag, said.
 He alleged that the department had left the villagers high and dry. “Earlier we used our own seed and get good crop. But we did a mistake by believing the false claims of the department about the seed,” they said, adding that the seed distributed by the department had marred the paddy crop this year in the area.
 Villagers from Naserpora, Trapy, Khag, Nagbal, Malapora, Shomlipora and Hanjipora alleged that the department took them for a ride as they had no information about the seed.
 “This is deception. Although we didn’t have information about the subsidized seed, still we believed the departmental people. They ended up cheating us,” the villagers alleged.
 The only source of their income, the villagers said, was the farming. “We produce paddy and earn our livelihood. But this year we have been devastated. We may not even have food to eat,” they said. Mushtaq said they had raised the issue with several quarters but to no avail. “Nobody is listening to us,” he rued, adding that in April when the seed was distributed the departmental had assured them that it was a high yielding rice seed.
 “The reason the seed could not produce rice could be that the department may not have tested it in the hilly areas before its distribution among the farmers,” experts said. 
 “Since Khag and other adjoining villages are at high altitude they might not have tested it on the locations earlier,” Akhtar H Malik of Department of Botany, Kashmir University said.
 When contacted, MLA Beerwa Dr Muhammad Shafi Wani said there were just few villagers who faced crop loss. “They shall be compensated,” he assured.
 “Actually the crop could not ripen because it is a Kandi belt. We have approached the SKUAST-K in this regard. Initial reports have revealed that the crop was hampered by the increased use of fertilizers and manure,” he told Greater Kashmir.
 “The villagers who have faced loss would be compensated. I talked to the officials of the department and they have also acknowledged it,” he said.
 Agriculture Officer Beerua, Abdul Rashid said there were just a couple of farmers whose paddy could not ripen. “The loss cannot be generalized. However, if some people have really suffered the loss we could compensate it.  We distributed 500 quintal of paddy seed. Complaints are few. But rest produced a bumper crop,” he claimed.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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