Kashmiri apple growers, cricket bat makers face losses

Srinagar (IANS) Continuous lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir is having a big impact on apple farming in the Valley. With the harvesting season just around the corner, Kashmiri apple growers are a worried lot.

The twin districts of Shopian and Kulgam in south Kashmir are the major apple growing centres where people are anxious and not sure as to what lies in store.

Ghulam Mohammad looks at the apples in his orchard with a sense of uncertainty. The apples will ripe in a week’s time, but his labour force is gone after the mass exodus of non-Kashmiris from the Valley following government advisory. He says he is staring at a massive loss this year.

“It looks very unlikely that we will be able to meet our target under the prevailing conditions. I am not a stone pelter… What is my fault, why am I made to suffer,” asked Muzaffar Ahmad, an apple grower in Anantnag in south Kashmir, voicing similar concerns?

The impact of the shutdown is growing by the day, leaving the apple growers worried.

The people in Hallmolla area of Anantnag, famous for manufacturing cricket bats, echoed

similar sentiments. The bat makers say there are no takers for the willows at the moment.

“Our business is totally dependent on tourists and yatris. With almost zero visitors in Kashmir now, our business has plunged to almost zero. Our labourers have gone, while untimely rains have made things worse for us,” said Gul Javed, a bat manufacturer.

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