SRINAGAR: As the agricultural land is shrinking at an alarming rate in Kashmir valley, the Government continues to be a mute spectator to this onslaught.
In violation of the court directions, thousands of kanals of abi awal land have been converted into commercial purposes across Kashmir. Agriculture experts believe that if the land conversion takes place with the present pace time would not be far when there will be no land for paddy either.
They said that besides that trend of constructing complexes on agricultural land, farmers are also shifting to the horticulture sector.
Experts said that as the agriculture department has failed to provide farmers with varieties from which they could make a livelihood, farmers are shifting towards the horticulture sector and are planting apple trees on land otherwise meant for agricultural purposes.
As per the data the land under paddy cultivation in Kashmir region shrank from 1,48,000 hectares in 2015 to 1,40,000 in 2018. Similarly, maize cultivation shrank from 100,000 hectares to 76,000 hectares over these years. Accordingly, cultivation of pulses has declined from 14,600 hectares to 12,767 hectares.
Kulgam, which is known as the rice bowl of Kashmir, the agricultural land is shrinking at an alarming rate and experts believe that very soon that will be hardly any land available for agricultural purposes.
They said that the number of brick kilns, coming up of big complexes, residential houses and shifting to the horticulture sector have been the main reasons that agricultural land is shrinking day by day.
Chief Agriculture Officer Kulgam Farooq Ahmad told that the trend of converting agricultural land is very worrisome and despite efforts of the concerned department, the district has lost around 40 percent of the agricultural land in the last one decade or so.
He said that farmers are being counselled on a regular basis and introducing different schemes before them to ease their burden a little bit. “If the land continues to be converted into commercial purposes in Kashmir, we will be entirely dependent on other states for rice,” Farooq said—(KNO)