In a major concern, the agricultural land in this central Kashmir's district is shrinking fast due to unabated conversion of farmland.
According to sources there has been further increase in the conversion of the farmland following the grant of district status to Ganderbal almost ten years back.
Sources said the establishment of the government projects, construction of commercial complexes, schools, parks, hotels, vehicle terminals, petrol pumps, etc., has brought further pressure on the farmland in the district especially along the roads.
Sources alleged that the authorities were indifferent to such reckless conversions. "The condition is worst along the roads in all the major towns of the district. If the conversion goes on this scale Ganderbal may soon have quite little farmland," said a local.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that near over 500 hectares have been converted into non-farm lands in the last ten years.
"There were approximately 9000 hectares of agriculture land available in Ganderbal district, however in last ten years over 500 hectares hve been converted for mostly construction purposes," they said.
They said there has been nearly 15% decline in the production of crops, mostly paddy, due to the conversion.
"Though there are laws banning conversion of the agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, such laws remain confined only on paper when the authorities are reluctant to act upon them," sources said.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Tariq Hussain Ganie said they were acting against the violators in this regard as per the High Court directions.
"Whenever we get any report in this regard, we act against the violators," he said, adding that the Revenue department has identified and issued notices to the violators in the district.