Jammu, Jan 19: Lower house Thursday witnessed unusual bonhomie between ruling and opposition party members who alleged that the Agriculture department is only visible on papers rather than on the ground.
Ruling Bhartiya Janta Party MLA from Marh, Choudhary Sukhnandan said that the department’s purpose has now been changed from being a farmer welfare department to being a farmer persecuting department. He said that the agriculture produce in the state was at all time low and the department was visible only on the official papers in the minister for agriculture’s office.
“The farmer today gets his seeds from the market because the rate there is much lower than the department’s rate,” Sukhnandan said, adding that in every sphere the department has made sure that the poor farmers are fined. “The agro-pump is available for Rs 1000 in the market while the government provides it at Rs 1600. Is this the welfare of the farmer,” he said during the discussion on demand for grants of the Agriculture department.
He said: “By the way of things in the department under the present minister it was better to shoot the farmer of his area like the Pakistan was doing from the other side of the border in his constituency.” He said that the potato farm of the department in his constituency was a big failure due to very poor production and the mobile testing vans of the department procured for Rs 5 crore are invisible. “Where did those vans go?”
He said in broad day light the agricultural land in his constituency was being converted into a residential colony and the minister is well aware of it.
“You were supposed to distribute compost to the poor farmers but then they have to buy it from outside the state even though you have showed in the official papers that the compost has been bought,” he said, adding that the minister should reveal the whereabouts of the compost, if found.
National Conference (NC) leader and MLA Kangan, Mian Altaf said that the department was only confined to the advertisement hoardings.
“The Pardhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna has been a failure in the state as the crops have been failing and the farmers have no insurance,” he said, adding that the failure of the schemes is due to the absence of department on the ground.
He said under the present dispensation the Sheri Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Jammu and Kashmir divisions have become almost non-functional “as they have failed to come up with technological interventions for helping the growth of agriculture”.
“Today the functioning of the department is a question mark on your credibility,” Altaf told Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjoora.
PDP MLA from Pulwama Khalil Bandh said that in view of the importance of the department mere talking isn’t enough to bring in a visible change. “Where is the irrigation for the agricultural land? 80 per cent of the people are associated with your department.”
Congress MLA, Gool, Ajaz Khan said that the department in the state was running on GoI schemes only as the state has no policy on agriculture.
“The government has failed to even implement the central schemes here,” Khan said. He added that the demand for grants was only for the salaries of the department’s employees and other expenses as the government has a ‘confused policy’ on agriculture. “Apni wah wahi sab karte hain.”
He said that the claims of the soil testing labs of the department was a hoax as no such facility was visible on the ground. “Kashmir Valley can never be self-sufficient but if the present state continues we will have no agricultural land left.” “What happened to the central Krishi Sinchayee Yojna. You have spent the money but water hasn’t reached the fields of farmers. Where did the money go,” Khan said. MLA Khansahab, Hakeem Yaseen said that the brick kiln mafia in the Budgam district has taken over a lot of agricultural land and the government has been a mute spectator.
He said that the Krishi Vighyan Kendras across the state were not functioning and the major reason for people moving away from agriculture was the low production in view of the high investment in sowing of crops.