Govt of India seems to have misplaced priorities for J&K: Altaf Bukhari

File Pic of Altaf Bukhari

Taking an exception to what he termed as hasty implementation of central laws including the amendment to municipal Acts, Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Friday said that it is unfortunate that the Government of India seems to have misplaced priorities for Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement, Bukhari said that 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 remarked.

Apni Party president observed that people in J&K are already reeling under severe pressure of economic depression caused since August last year and coupled with the 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 the 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 added.

On the delay in approval of the Market Intervention Scheme for J&K, Bukhari said that the lack of will in the government has pushed the Horticulture Sector to the extreme levels of insignificance. He said that this economically important sector, especially the Apple industry is 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 per cent 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,” Apni Party president observed.

He remarked that last year’s weather vagaries and the political instability followed by the strict COVID lockdown which restricted the movement of packing material and the packed fruit had a crippling effect on this vital industry and as per rough estimates around more than 10 Lac MTS of apple produce is awaiting sale.

Bukhari remarked that the government’s support price scheme had empowered the apple growers and increased their confidence under extremely challenging circumstances a few years ago. He pleaded that the majority of the fruit growers, this season have not been able to sell their produce and are facing an economically challenging situation to sustain their businesses.

“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 demanded.

Bukhari, however, lauded the government of India for conceding to Apni Party’s demand for subsidized transportation and hiring of storage facilities including cold storage for fruit growers but stressed on the need for proper awareness about implementation of these initiatives on the ground. “The J&K government must involve the field staff of the Horticulture department to make the growers aware about how to avail the benefits of these schemes so as to make them a success,” he opined.