Shopian: Many fruit growers and traders from south Kashmir's Shopian district, who had applied for the allotment of shops at Fruit Mandi Shopian 'feel cheated' by the Planning and Marketing wing of the Horticulture Department.
At least 193 fruit growers cum traders from the district had applied for the allotment of shops in 2004 against a bank draft of Rs 20,000 each. However, after a hiatus of 18 years, they are still without the shops and now they have been paid back the deposited amount.
"The department kept us waiting for nearly two decades and finally returned the bank drafts a few days ago", said Peer Shabir, a grower and a member of Fruit Mandi Shopian.
He said that they felt cheated by the authorities.
Mushtaq Ahamd Malik, president Fruit Growers and Zamindar Association said that they were clueless about the cancellation of the proposed allotment of shops.
"You know money does not retain value. An amount of Rs 20,000 some two decades ago was a huge amount. We could have bought shops in the commercial market with this amount", said Malik.
Javed Ahamd , a grower cum trader, told Greater Kashmir that they approached the concerned authorities regarding the issue many a time but to no avail.
"They have deceived us", he alleged.
The concerned officials from the Planning and Marketing department could not be reached for their comments despite repeated phone calls by this reporter.
The Fruit Mandi Shopian is the third largest Mandi in the country, spread over 393 Kanal, and provides livelihood to nearly 10 thousand people in the area. The annual turnover of the market is Rs 4000 crore. However, the lack of shops is hampering the routine business at the facility.