Srinagar, Dec 18: Around eleven years have elapsed since the last assessment of the land under saffron in Kashmir was carried out but still no fresh assessment has been carried out.
Top officials within the agriculture department said that last assessment was carried out when the National Saffron Mission was launched in Kashmir.
“The assessment is to be done by the revenue department after every ten years. Our job is only to see developmental aspects,” officials said.
Officials said the survey carried in 2010 showed that the land under saffron in Kashmir is 3715 hectares, however, as per earlier records there was around 5100 hectares of land under saffron cultivation.
“Since then no fresh survey has been conducted and it is obvious that land under saffron has decreased further due to construction of residential houses, commercial complexes, switching to apple cultivation,” they said.
Officials said the real figure will come to fore only when a detailed survey of land under saffron cultivation will be carried out by the revenue department.
Locals from Pampore also said that land under saffron is shrinking day by day as new residential or commercial complexes are being constructed besides that some people have switched to other crops as the government has failed to provide any attention towards saffron growers.
Locals said that the much hyped National Saffron Mission has also failed as authorities couldn’t even make the water pumps functional which were constructed for watering purposes in dry seasons.
Meanwhile, Revenue Commissioner Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, said that he was told that the agriculture department will be the right agency to confirm whether any fresh assessment has been carried out or not.
When contacted Director Agriculture Kashmir Iqbal Choudhary said that the department is carrying out a survey of land under all crops, however, the real figure remains with the revenue department.
Deputy Director Revenue Muzzafar Ahmad said that no such assessment has been carried out since 2010.