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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Improving Kashmir's Horticulture and Agriculture

For a state that mostly survives on agrarian economy, the miniscule attention given to farming is sad. Two reports draw new attention to the problem

Innovative techniques will give boost to Horticulture in Valley

Srinagar: Minister for Health, Horticulture and Floriculture, Sham Lal Sharma has called for introducing innovative techniques to develop improved varieties of fruits to give boost to the horticulture sector in the Valley. He stressed for covering new areas under horticulture cultivation and make optimum use of horticulture potential in the state.

This was stated by the Minister during a review meeting of horticulture and floriculture departments held here today under his chairmanship.

Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production, Horticulture and Floriculture, Ms. Sonali Kumar, Director Horticulture, Kashmir, M. S. Qasba, Director Horticulture (P&M), A. R. Kuchay, Director Floriculture, Kashmir, Dr. G. S. Naqash, Director Command Area Development, Kashmir, Dr. G. H. Shah, Chief Horticulture Officers and District Horticulture Officers were present in the meeting.

In order to remove various bottlenecks coming in the way of improving this vital sector, the Minister stressed upon the officers to adopt a viable approach and put dedicated efforts coupled with effective planning to increase the productivity. He asked for ensuring quality control to compete in the global market for which strict Para-meters are required to be observed.

Sharma said that horticulture is the mainstay of the State’s economy and government is committed to upgrade the existing infrastructure, which include setting up of modern fruit mandis with necessary backup of cold storages, transport and other facilities. He said that for the facilities of fruit growers a number of measures have already been initiated.

The Minister also directed for upgrading the nurseries at the district level to produce quality plants for the farmers. He asked the Director Horticulture, Kashmir and CHOs to pay frequent field visits and personally see the problems at the operational level for quick disposal. He asked all the district officers to submit their future requirements and action plans to the Administrative Department for necessary action.

Underlying the need for giving boost to floriculture, the Minister said that this sector has great potential in the Valley and stressed for developing latest varieties of flowers which have great demand in the domestic and international markets. He said that large quantity of flowers is being imported in the State from various parts of the world to meet the local requirements.

He asked the Director Floriculture to utilize idle space in the major gardens/parks in Srinagar city with fruits, ornamental and medicinal plants to give aesthetic look to these parks. He further asked him to utilize his experience gained during his China visit in the floriculture field at the operational level.

Earlier, the Director Horticulture, Kashmir gave a power point presentation of the achievements registered by the department. He informed the meeting that during the year 2008-09, the Valley produced 15.25 lakh MTs of fruit which includes 13.87 MT fresh fruit and 1.38 MTs of dry fruit. He further said that 3140 MTs of apricots were produced in Leh and 5002 MTs in Kargil during the same period. He said that more than 5 lakh families are directly or indirectly involved with the horticulture sector and more than 30 lakh farmers are engaged in the trade.

He said that some new areas have been brought under horticulture cultivation during the same period with more than 10 lakh plants of different fruit varieties were distributed from departmental/private nurseries to the farmers on subsidized rates besides, 1000 persons trained in fruit and vegetable preservation. He said Rs. 3.50 crores have been spent under Technology Mission Programme and Rs. 6.83 crore spent under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan during the last fiscal in Kashmir division.

Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production and Floriculture and Director Floriculture, Kashmir shared their experience gained during their visit to China in the field of horticulture and floriculture. They informed that the experience gained would be utilized in the State as per the conditions in the State.

(Etalaat News Service)

Food Grain Production: Why projects executed by Irrigation department failed to increase the food grain production

The production of food grains has shown a decline from last two years. Interestingly, the production has remained static from last 25 years which is a cause of worry for an ordinary man as well as for an expert. The report needs a careful attention given the fact that rice forms the staple food of Kashmir.

However, the situation becomes even more surprising when compared to Jammu region, where wheat production has shown a healthy growth of 8 percent during the previous years. According to official data the State produces 15 lakh metric tones of food grains annually with 10.86 MT produced in Jammu and 4.81 MT produced in the Valley.

The State is already deficient in food grains and imports food grains worth around Rs 1400 crore annually. As already mentioned the food grain production in the State has remained almost static for past 25 years and continuously swings between 13- 15 lakh metric tones. What is more disturbing is the fact that despite heavy investment having been made in irrigation which reached Rs 570 crore during the 10th plan period there has been no corresponding increase in food grain production within the Valley. The net irrigated area in the State reached 3.04 lakh hectares in 1981 from 2.61 lakh hectares in 1951. But huge lacunae can be deciphered by an ordinary person when one looks at the increase in net irrigated area during the last 29 years which is paltry by any standard at 3.09 lakh hectares. Now this needs deep digging and reasons have to be explored for the abysmal performance in irrigation infrastructure utilization. Has the irrigation infrastructure been created which does not have practical utility? Have the irrigation projects been executed without proper planning with no heed being paid to its effective utilization? Where has the money gone? These are some serious question which demand answers from everybody concerned.

Government needs to take tough stance as it makes out a perfect case of system failure. Even the major medium irrigation projects taken under the accelerated irrigation benefit program have not yielded the desired benefits. The Ministry of Irrigation and Flood Control, time and again, boasts of implementing various irrigation schemes which cover minor irrigation projects including gravity canals, lift stations, small storage tanks, replacement of worn out pumps, procurement and renovation of new drought pumps, construction and deepening of wells and tanks, besides restoration and modernizing of sick tanks. Even desilting and renovation of Khuls has been done on a mass scale, but again no tangible improvement in food grain production. Despite having the most precious resource – water- available in abundance, the State cannot meet its food grain needs. At least for policy planners and politicians, this means something is fundamentally wrong.

(Editorial in Rising Kashmir)

1 comment:

m.hussain zaffar said...

MY first formal introduction with Gh.ALI Majboor was in 1991 ar DDK Srinagar .at that time no producer or artist was willing to make or take part in a drama or serial .Shafeeq shah a producer decided to produce a drama [wav ba vav lone ba lone].late gh ali majboor opted to write and act in the serial along with other theater members.i was give the role of a doctor and that was my first and till date last act in a tv was a master piece and since that day my association with majboor sahab became a strong bond and laterly he was just a family member for us.he was a great human being artist and writer.i will not write any comment on his abilities because he dosent need my certificate for that..but will definitely comment on his friend ship, he was a great friend and i cant write about the memories and the incidents which i am a witnes to. i still remember one day after my engagement i was talking on phone to my wouldbe and he came to my house we were talking in urdu and i introduced him to my wife .he wished her and after that said in kashmiri..[bhabi ji karive urdu ..khandrre patte mundde chunn tohinndde garre wattal ti... ti urdu gatche panay mashith....]after his ill ness one day he spoke to me on phone and i regretted that i cant see u ill so i am not coming to see u until u receive fully his reply was..i am trying to get rid of my desire but it is not ready to leave me...and finally that happened about which he was well aware but not ready..may god bless his soul in the heaven...aameen...