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Kashmir farmers allege hardships
Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmir farmers allege hardships

Agency News

Srinagar, Sep 27 : As normal life remained crippled for the 54th successive day on Friday due to strike against scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the fencing of Kashmir highway has added to the suffering of farmers, who found it difficult to access their fields and transport their respective crops.

The peasants alleged that due to the wired fencing on both sides of the national highway from Nowgam to Pampore, they were unable to take trucks to their respective fields and transport crops, which had been harvested. ''We are facing a lot of hardships because of the wired fence on the highway, as we are unable to access our own fields. All the farmers and labourers have to jump the fence, to reach their respective fields,'' a ryot, who wished anonymity, told UNI.

He said due to the fence, the farmers were unable to transport the crops from the field to their respective places. ''We will suffer a huge loss, if it rains, before we are able to transport the crop from the fields,'' he added. He said at the time of fencing the highway, the authorities had assured that a service road would be build along the highway on both sides, so that the farmers can access their fields, without any problem.

''We were told that the service road will be connected to the highway and we can get our crops transported easily,'' he said. However, after the attack on CRPF convoy (that left over 40 jawans dead), even the smaller openings to the fields were closed and the link road was also not constructed.

He further alleged that they are not even allowed to park their private vehicles on the highway by security forces. ''If we park our vehicles on the highway and go to our fields, the security forces direct us to remove the vehicles… so, we don't know what to do, as we can neither take the vehicles to the fields because of the fencing, nor can we park them on the highway,'' he added. He said they have to shell out more money to get the crop manually shifted from the field to the highway.

Similar views were expressed by the farmers, whose fields run parallel to the Srinagar-Jammu national highway from Nowgam to Pampore.

Meanwhile, the vacuum created by the absence of these workers, has rejuvenated the market for local work force in the valley. Official sources said that over four lakh skilled and unskilled non-local workers were either asked to leave or had proactively left Kashmir, fearing retaliation, after the Centre scrapped the special status of J&K, last month.

Due to the absence of non-local workers, farmers have engaged local work force, to harvest wheat and other crops in the valley.

The Modi-led NDA government on August 5 scrapped Articles 370 and 35 A, triggering massive outrage among people in the valley, where life remained crippled for the nineteenth successive day on Friday due to restrictions, strike and gag on all means of communication.

The non-locals, who come from different parts of the country -- particularly from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Punjab -- have over the years, taken over majority of unorganised sector, ranging from hair-cutting to construction business.

Most of them come to the valley with the arrival of spring and leave for their respective states at the end of the summer while some, including barbers and snack sellers, have permanently settled in Kashmir, since the past many years.

However, as the situation became grim with each passing day post August 5, the non-local workers -- some of whom withstood the unrest in 2008, 2010 and 2016 -- left the valley with very little hope of returning back. UNI