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Khair growing farmers exploited by Forest Deptt-Industrialists nexus: Harsh
1/17/2019 9:59:56 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Jan 17: Alleging exploitation of Khair growing farmers by the Forest mafia operative in the state, Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister today appealed to the Governor to come to their rescue so as to save them from starvation and misery. With the poor farmers being divested of their marginal produce of Khair by powerful industrial houses in league with corrupt officers of the Forest Deptt at throwaway prices, the very subsistence and livelihood of these farmers had been threatened.
He said that around 35000 farmers of Jammu region were dependent upon Khair farming for their survival in view of nature of their lands which were not suitable for any other crop. Growing only in Kandi areas of Jammu region, the Khair-tree technically known as 'Acacia catechu' was the only source of subsistence for the farmers of the sub tropical belt of Jammu region owning these otherwise non productive and non irrigated lands in the six districts of Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri, Jammu, Samba and Kathua, divulged Mr. Singh. He regretted that expropriation of the produce of the these farmers by the Deptt - Industrialist nexus for peanuts had not only led to their impoverishment but created huge resentment amongst them. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today alongwith Yash Paul Kundal State President Young Panthers. Harsh Dev Singh said that the state Govt had granted permission to certain selected industrialists mostly outsiders only to operate 'katha' factories in the state who had monopolized the purchases of Khair-wood and were exploitating the poor farmers. Not only were the farmers underpaid but their payments were withheld for months and years by these powerful industrial houses leading to untold miseries for the poor cultivators, he said. Accusing the Forest Deptt authorities of promoting the interests of these big business houses and factory owners at the cost of poor cultivators, Singh regretted the non issuance of permission to them for felling and sale of Khair-wood during 2018-19 despite there being an annual calendar for felling and sale of such trees as provided for in SRO-111 issued in pursuance of court orders.
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