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news details
JK Govt fails to spend funds, several projects remain in-completed
Centre releases Rs 400 cr to boost saffron production
11/24/2017 11:07:14 PM
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Nov 24: Despite releasing of crores by the centre, the state government has failed to take measures by which the saffron cultivation could be increased.
To give boost to the saffron production, ministry of Agriculture and Production, Government of India started a scheme 'National Mission on Saffron' in 2010 for seven years with project cost of Rs 400.11 crore. So far, the government has utilised only Rs 199.835 crore. The centre has extended the period of completion by March 2018.
Interestingly, the government as per the official documents have completed only nine sprinklers over the years in against having requirement of 124.
Similarly, only 100 tubewells have been completed so far.
The saffron growers believe that had the government completed works, the saffron growth would have increased.
Gulzar Ahmad, a saffron grower, said that saffron production has been on decline due to government's "mismanagement". "The funds of centrally sponsored scheme have been kept unspent. There is water deficit and the government has failed to complete the irrigation project," Gulzar said.
"Had there been irrigation facilities available, we would not have been dependent on rainfall," he said. Saffron flowers are sensitive to vagaries of the weather. Its production depends on the weather conditions and the irrigation facilities. There has been slight rainfall for the last three months in the valley.
Ghulam Mohammad, another saffron grower, held several reasons responsible for decline in its production. "The government did not show much concern for the prized crop. The authorities are not implementing schemes properly," he said. "People also sold a large part of saffron land on which constructions have been built," he added.
He said that Iranian saffron, which does not match the quality of Kashmir saffron, was being imported in India. "It is being rebranded and sold in domestic market on high value thereby defacement of the Kashmir saffron," he added.
As per the official figures available, the saffron crop was being cultivated on 5707 hectares of land at Pampore in 1996, which has now reached to around 3500 hectares.
President, Saffron Growers Association, Abdul Majeed Wani, said farmers started using new technology under the centrally sponsored scheme. "But the irrigation project has not been completed," he said.
He said that decline in saffron production was due to dry weather. "The production of saffron will be increased only by irrigation facilities."
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