Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Srinagar International Airport Raises Expectations

The airport must become a gateway to new opportunities

International airport to boost flower export business

Srinagar: The opening of an international airport has buoyed the hopes of flower growers in Kashmir as avenues for selling their produce in international markets open up. Flower growers and exporters are anticipating a huge boost in flower business, as they are hopeful to tap the international markets especially the Gulf countries where the demand for flowers is quite high.

Kashmir's floriculture department is quite upbeat about taking the state's flowers on international arena and will soon be imparting technical know how and providing other help to the growers for expanding their business. "Very soon we will try and impart technical support and provide other know how like finance to our flower growers and encourage them in every possible way so that the flower business will get a good chance to grow and boom with the opening of this international airport," said G.S Naqash, Director, Floriculture Department, Kashmir.

The flower growers are also happy as they can now sell their produce in the international market at no extra cost. The freight charge paid by the flower growers to ship their flowers to Delhi is around 25 to 30 rupees freight per kilogram but for sending the same produce to Dubai, the freight will cost them only 10 rupees per kilogram because of the subsidy provided by the Agriculture Product Export Development Agency (APEDA). Also the reduction in freight time is an added advantage. "Earlier we used to worry about the flowers that we used to send from here as it used to rot in the transport time only. But now with the international airport, we can send across our flowers within few hours and this could benefit the flower growers a lot," said Nazir Ahmed, a flower grower.

Floriculture has evolved as lucrative employment option in Kashmir in the recent years. Gerbera, Lilium, Carnation, Marigold, Tulips are some of the flowers grown and exported from the valley. The state has a rich market of flowers worth over 100 million rupees.

(Kashmir Monitor)

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