Centre seems to have misplaced priorities for J&K: Altaf Bukhari

File Pic of Altaf Bukhari

Taking an exception to the “hasty implementation” of central laws including amendment to Municipal Acts, Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari on Friday said the centre seems to have misplaced priorities for J&K.

In a statement, Bukhari said the first and the foremost priority for the Union government should have been immediate restoration of statehood to J&K which would have eventually paved the way for resumption of democratic processes.

“Unfortunately, one fails to understand the reasons for the delay in the decisions of urgent nature when it comes to J&K,” he said.

Bukhari said people in J&K were already reeling under severe pressure of economic depression caused since August last year, coupled with prevailing pandemic lockdowns.

“Administratively also the people in J&K feel suffocated and are waiting eagerly for a democratically elected government to address their sufferings. But people at the helm in Delhi seem to be least bothered about these important public issues and are instead adding to their woes by these rushed decisions,” he said.

On the delay in approval of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for J&K, Bukhari said lack of will in the government has pushed the horticulture sector to the extreme levels of insignificance.

He said the economically important sector, especially apple industry was the backbone of J&K’s economy with a huge market size accounting to around 84 percent of total production of the fruit in the country.

“This industry provides employment to around 27 percent people in J&K and lakhs of families are directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. However, the lack of market integration, frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and other hostile factors have immensely dented this industry,” Bukhari observed.

He remarked that last year’s weather vagaries and political instability followed by COVID lockdown had a crippling effect on this vital industry and as per rough estimates around more than 10 lakh MTS of apple produce was awaiting sale.

Bukhari remarked that the government’s support price scheme had empowered apple growers and increased their confidence under extremely challenging circumstances a few years ago.

“I call upon the government of India to announce the Market Intervention Scheme without any further delay so as to enable the fruit growers of J&K to face the unique challenges in marketing their produce,” he said.