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.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Economy of the State Cannot be Improved Without Emphasis on Agriculture

A noble soul from Badarwah reminds the State government to put emphasis on the Agriculture, followed by a related story from potato farmers in the valley

Improving economy of J&K

Dear Editor (Kashmir Times),

This refers to the column 'Measures to improve economy'. The planning commission has asked the state government to lay more emphasis on agriculture, which is also called as primary sector. It is yet to be developed extensively across the state.

This sector provides employment to almost 70 percent of work force in our country. The developed states of the country at present are depending on the tertiary sector that includes banking, shipping and infrastructure.

This sector has seen a tremendous increase in recent times. The rich states of the country like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have already made a lot of improvement in primary as well as secondary sector or industrial sector.

The primary sector was their main priority in the times of acute food shortages. They have completed the work of improving the secondary sector also. Our state is still working to improve primary sector. Development would be of no use if we do not have well-developed infrastructure, transport, communication, banking and insurance services.

A farmer cannot improve his production if he is not informed about the modern methods of farming. The banking sector is anticipated to provide finance to the farmers. So, there is an urgent need to improve our Primary sector and automatically, the remaining sectors will improve. The concept of balanced growth should be adopted. More important is the introduction of private sector but this sector will only flourish if the people across the state would be able to prevent outsiders from running the economy of the state.

Aaqib Anwar Butt,

Valley Potato Farmers Feel Cheated

Rashid Paul (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: Kashmir farmers that banked on potato seeds procured from directorate of agriculture are feeling cheated as none of the plants have bore any tubers while as the prevailing local varieties are nearing harvest.

Farmers from different areas of the Valley told Rising Kashmir that the potato development wing of the agriculture department handed out thousands of kilograms of potatoes in February and March this year for sowing. The officials claimed the seeds are high yielding but till now the potatoes are invisible.

“We have been put to major losses by the agriculture department,” said Mohammed Amin, a farmer from Kreshibal, a city suburb. “I was provided seeds for 10 kanal of land and the officials named the seeds as Kufribadshah. However, July has set in, the plants have not bore any potatoes,” he added.

Abdul Samad from Wanganpora said that he was assured of a plenteous crop. But nothing of the kind has grown on my fields. “My neighbors are reaping the crop and my field has a profuse vegetative growth without any produce,” he said.

The farmers said that the agriculture department warded them off by saying that the seed variety takes time to mature. Even if they are believed, we have been divested of another crop which we usually started from the end of July.

The valley according to official figures has 1700 acres under potato cultivation with average annual production pegged at 2,60,000 quintals. Hundreds of farmers from Kashmiri’s temperate zone feel deprived of their earnings this year by the distribution of varieties suitable to tropical regions of India.

Abdul Majid Mian, Joint Director inputs said the new varieties like kufri jyoti abd, kufri badshah were acquired from the Central Potato Research Institute. “We conducted their trial at our farms and if suitable environment, required amount of nutrients and other inputs are provided in adequate quantity the varieties have a potential of producing 10 quintals of potato per kanal of land,” said Majid. They have exceptionally large vegetative growth and their crop can be collected in August, he assured.

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