GCC cautions against rampant conversion of agriculture land in Kashmir

Warns that no agriculture land will be left in Valley after few decades if conversion not stopped

Warns that no agriculture land will be left in Valley after few decades if conversion not stopped

 Srinagar, Oct 22 (KNS): The Group of Concerned Citizens J&K (GCC) has red flagged the rampant conversion of agriculture land for non- agriculture purposes in Jammu and Kashmir and particularly in Kashmir valley.

In a statement, issued to KNS, they raised the concern at a meeting with Director Agriculture Kashmir, Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal.

The GCC warned of drastic reduction in food grain production in coming years within J&K and of endemic shortages of locally grown food grains in rural areas.

Apart from shortages, the GCC warned of loss of employment and income for the rural population who are presently engaged in agriculture and allied activities.

The GCC called upon the authorities to take cognizance of rapid land conversion and place strict restrictions on such unregulated and uncontrolled conversion.

They demanded new land use and housing policies to incentivise apartment based housing and disincentivise construction of exclusive residential houses on agriculture lands.

The GCC warned of adverse impact on Kashmir tourism if uncontrolled construction activity is allowed to eat up precious agriculture land and leave no open spaces for agriculture and other land based activities.

The GCC delegation also raised other issues pertaining to agriculture sector with the Director like introduction of green house cultivation during winter season, popularisation of indoor cultivation of crops like mushroom and high value cash crops, vertical farming, use of solar energy and rain water harvesting at house hold level, drip and sprinkler irrigation, vermiculture, organic farming, emphasis on high value cash crops and protection of saffron lands and saffron cultivation.

Director Agriculture appreciated the concern of GCC and assured them that he will take up the issue of conversion of agriculture land with the higher authorities in the department.

As per the statement, they also briefed the GCC about the activities and achievements of the agriculture department and hoped that the policies and activities of the department will bear more fruit in future for the farmers.

The GCC thanked the Director for giving them a patient hearing. After the meeting, the GCC delegation expressed hope that the administration will take immediate steps to regulate conversion of agriculture land and stop wanton conversion of such land.

The GCC delegation comprised of retired IAS officers Khurshid Ahmed Ganai and Ghulam Jeelani Nahvi,  retired IFS officer Ghulam Hassan Kango, retired IPS officer Abdul Rashid Khan, retired District and Sessions Judge Khaliq ul Zaman and retired Secretary, J&K Board of School Education Bashir Ahmed Dar. (KNS)

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