Minister for Horticulture, Abdul RehmanVeeri has said that hazelnut cultivation would be introduced in cold and hilly areas of the state.
He said the hazelnut (a round brown hard-shelled nut that is the edible fruit of the hazel), locally known as Virin, is in great demand worldwide for its medicinal value. "Its introduction would expose the farmers to a new commercially viable product," the minister said.
The minister said at Kokernag where he had gone to take stock of the horticulture and other developmental activities.
Member Legislative Assembly, Abdul Rahim Rather, Director Horticulture Kashmir, MD JKHPMC, senior officers of HP&M besides district officers of Anantnag accompanied the Minister during the tour.
The Minister visited the hazelnut orchard at Lehenvan, Vailoo and Lisser fruit plantation nurseries. He also inspected high density apple orchard set up in private sector at Bimdoora.
The hazelnut orchard of horticulture department spreading over 400 kanals of land at Lehenvan (MatiGawran) is frontline demonstration plot to acquaint the farmers about the cultivation of hazelnut on scientific basis.
The minister, according to an official statement, said the government plans to graft the local variant of the hazelnut high yielding varieties grown at Lehenvan demonstration plot in cold and hilly areas of the state. "I have directed the horticulture department functionaries to set up demo plantation areas in each district and let farmers see it for themselves," he said and added that HP&M department has been instructed to explore marketing facility of this rear dry fruit.
The Minister ordered fencing of hazelnut orchard, construction of inspection huts at Lehenwan and Lissar fruit nurseries and instructed the concerned authorities for formulation of DPRS for funding in this regard.
Veeri said that 10 kanals of nursery land would be brought under high density of apple plants as frontline demonstration plot to be imported from Europe for awareness of the fruit growers of the area.
The minister said to ensure reasonable price of the walnut produce in the area, a walnut processing unit would be established at Zalangam besides high density fruit plantation nursery on the land of JKHPMC. He directed the concerned authorities to take necessary steps in this regard well in time.
The Minister also held a meeting with the district officers and reviewed the status of various ongoing projects in the area. He directed for immediate patching and macadamization of Larnoo-Gawran road besides timely completion of filtration plant in the area.
The Minister visited GHSS, Larnoo, inspected the functioning of the institution and on the demand of the school management said that construction of additional accommodation of the school would be completed well in time. He said that a toilet block and computer lab besides science laboratory would be also constructed in the institution.
Meanwhile, the Minister reviewed progress of work on under-construction Trauma Hospital Bijbehara. The 30 bedded hospital building is being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 13 crore and is expected to be completed during next fiscal year.
The Minister instructed the DDC Anantnag to ensure the disbursement of balanced compensation of land to the concerned owners and negotiate with them to remove the impediments confronting on the timely completion of the hospital complex.
Veeri also visited the DH Anantnag and inspected each section of the hospital. He interacted with the patients and enquired their welfare besides about the medicare facilities providing to them by the hospital management.