While the Valley depends on imports for its food needs, conversion of agri land to construction sites goes unabated
CHADOORA: Concrete walls, shopping complexes and residential houses are what is replacing agricultural land in village Chadoora of central Kashmir’s Budgam, posing a serious threat to once booming paddy ‘powerhouse’ in the area.
Increasing number of shopping complexes and residential colonies on the agricultural land in Chadoora area of Budgam constricts and sweeps the agricultural land from the area.
According to the previous reports issued by agricultural department, Kashmir is losing 228 kanals of agricultural land in a single day which comes under construction directly or indirectly.
Due to rising trend of urbanisation people are more inclined towards constructing new houses, shopping complexes and commercial units by encroaching on agricultural land.
Recalling the past, several senior citizens of the village said that the fertile land is being used for construction of concrete buildings and “by destroying the treasure people dream of development!”.
“It makes my heart very painful when I see paddy fields converting to cement walls and nobody seems to talk about it, this is nothing more than destruction,” Ali Mohammad, 75 year old from Chadoora village said. “We are becoming materialistic without taking proper care of our environment and destroy it for our vested interests,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Due to the increasing trend of converting agricultural land for construction purposes, Valley is becoming more dependent on import grains from other states of the India.
“People are busy in talking about the price hike of food items but no one steps forward to decrease the rising demand of import supplies from other states,”, said an economist. “See, it is a rule of economics that if demand goes up, prices will also go up; so people shouldn’t get surprised over the consistent price hike and should not expect decrease in prices, especially on food items in the valley, rather they should start cultivating grains inside the valley to minimise the magnitude of import for other parts of the India,” he added.
As per the door survey conducted by Agriculture Department, earlier records reveal that the agricultural land in the valley is decreasing and share of agriculture in the state economy is also declining. “People are giving huge bribes to get appointed in government departments, it seems they are not ready to work in their fields; what people call new lifestyle I call it tabaahi (destruction),” Ghulam Qadir, another villager in his 70s told Kashmir Reader.
Chadoora in past few years has witnessed a huge growth in commercial sector and new buildings are constructed at a rapid speed.
A group of people, Kashmir Reader talked to, said that there is huge conversion of agricultural land in the village and nobody is there to stop them.
Sources informed Kashmir Reader about the filling of agricultural land at Chadoora-Srinagar route to make it possible for the construction projects. On reaching the spot the information was found genuine and authentic.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Sub-Divisional Agriculture Officer, Adina Altaf said that they have not received any written complaint in this regard from any person and assured to send a team to the spot. “I have not received any information about this issue and also we don’t have authority to intervene in it without the proper directions from revenue department,” she said. “It should not happen but unfortunately some people don’t understand still I will send my team to the spot to check whether they have proper permission or not,” she added.
Adina sought help from the general public to stop converting agriculture land into construction projects and called it “unfortunate”.
Meanwhile Tehsildar Chadoora Javid Ahmad Zargar confirmed that they have sent legal notice to the constructors and will intervene into this issue himself. The department has also asked them to produce proper permission. “Naib sahib had sent them a notice to produce permission before the magistrate and ill date we have not received any reply from them,” Javid told adding that there is a provision for construction on agricultural land “if they successfully produced permission before them”.