Hindustan Times, Srinagar


Kashmiri fruit growers have said they support the Bharat Banch called by farmers. (HT FILE PHOTO )

 
 
 
 

 

Fruit growers in Kashmir valley have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh called farmers who are seeking the repeal of three recent farm laws.

The fruit growers have decided to shut all the activities on Tuesday, especially in the fruit markets across Kashmir valley in support of the bandh.

“We fully support the strike call given by farmers on Tuesday. The presidents of all fruit growers’ associations of the valley have been requested to close all their mandis for all sorts of business,” said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union and president of the New Kashmir Fruit Association.

He said all the shops in the fruit mandi Srinagar will remain shut on Tuesday in a show of support to the farmers who have been protesting for many weeks. “We want all the demands of the farmers to be fulfilled as they are the backbone of our society,” Basheer said.

Asia’s second largest fruit mandi Sopore will also suspend its business on Tuesday. The fruit season in Kashmir is at its peak and growers after harvest sell thousands of boxes in the fruit mandis which have been established in the Valley at different places.

Fruit trade is one of the biggest economic activities in Jammu and Kashmir and 10,000 to 20,000 metric tons of fresh fruit is produced and sent across the country every year. Around 2.5 million people are directly or indirectly connected with the trade. This is the first time in recent times when fruit growers from Kashmir have extended support to any nationwide strike.

“The farmers are just like growers who are protesting for genuine demands. The government should shun a rigid approach and roll back the laws which in the long run will be harmful for farmers,” said Ghulam Rasool Bhat former president of Fruit Growers and Dealers Association.