Mehbooba Mufti Cautions against Making J&K Another Uttarakhand

Kashmiri orchardists resent land acquisition by Railways

Srinagar: The fruit-growing and other farmers of the Reshipora-Zainapora area of Kashmir Valley’s southern Shopian district have held protests against the proposed takeover of their land for a railway project.

Recently, the Railway ministry approved a railway line from Awantipora in the Pulwama district to Shopian and the locals said that since it runs through their orchards and other farming land “it would vandalise them and destroy our livelihoods.”

Former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti while endorsing their view told a press conference here that building railway lines through the Kashmir Valley without taking into consideration its ecological impact is fraught with dire consequences. “In this case, the proposed railway line will necessitate the felling of apple orchards at Shopian,” she said and requested Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, to involve a panel of environmental experts before taking such major decisions.

She asserted that J&K is a very fragile region and any intervention into wooden or agricultural lands should be taken up after proper expertise. “Fruit industry is the backbone of our economy. Railway projects are good things, but they should not be at the cost of cutting down apple trees and ruining locals' livelihood. There should have been a proper mechanism. Uttarakhand is a live example before us. We shouldn't push J&K to become another Uttarakhand"

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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