expert Opinion

Approaches and predictions of climate change on worm infections in Kashmir ruminants

Dr. Khurshid Ahmad Tariq

(Assistant Professor,  Department of Zoology, Islamia College of Science & Commerce)


Parasitism is an important ecological and evolutionary aspect of animal kingdom on earth having diversified host spectrum. One of the important group of parasites are helminthes or worms. These are smart, strategic, prudent and often pathogenic organisms causing a wide variety of diseases collectively called as helminthoses in their hosts. Helminthoses is characterized by the development of various categories of mechanical, physiological and biochemical damage in the host animals. Besides shelter, worms have metabolic dependence on hosts and derive their nutrition from the latter, thereby disrupting the nutritional absorption of their hosts.


Ruminants in Kashmir valley are parasitized by various species of endoparasites (helminthes, protozoa) and ectoparasites (ticks, mites, flies, lice, etc.). The various worms infecting ruminants are Paramphistomum (rumen fluke); Fasciola, Fasciolopsis (liver flukes); Haemonchus, Teladorsagia/Ostertagia, Trichostrongylus (abomasum parasites); Strongyloides, Bunostomum, Oesophagostomum, Nematodirus, Cooperia, Moniezia (small intestine parasites); Trichuris, Chabertia (large intestine parasites), etc. Out of these, Fasciolosis and hemonchosis are the two significant diseases responsible for severe morbidity and mortality in ruminants. 


Parasitic gastroenteritis, weight loss, low milk yield and loss of function are a common feature of these helminth infections and, therefore, constraint the productivity of ruminants.



The global scenario indicates that the climate in the world is changing, with a general trend towards more humidity and warmer average temperatures. The predictable effects of these worms on ruminant health and productivity in relationship to climate change has recently attracted the attention of parasitologists, environmentalists, veterinarians, climatologists, economists and politicians worldwide. 


The emphasis vis-a-vis climate change and worms for long-term predictions is based on some important aspects like, How will climate change affect the epidemiology of worms of ruminants and parasite-host dynamics?; Can we predict climate change impacts on helminth diseases of ruminants and the possible effect on productivity?; How can we ensure the sustainable management of our ruminants in presence of changing climate trends and the increasing incidence of helminth diseases?. Further, it is not only about the negative aspects of relationship between the climate change and the helminth diseases, but the field has become more interesting that parasites are the best bio-monitoring tools/indicators of climate change itself. 


Besides, livestock itself is seen as a major contributor to global climate change-contribute 18% of global greenhouse gases.


Livestock rearing is an attractive feature for people in Kashmir valley particularly in rural and sub urban areas due to low capital input and the ability of these animals to thrive on native feed stuff. Almost every rural household is having cattle, sheep or goat which serve the daily needs of milk, meat, wool and valuable organic manure. Generally, ruminants are fed on imbalanced and nutrient deficit feed viz. left over residues, leaves, vegetables, etc. devoid of any organized/scientific plan despite the presence of plentiful of grazing areas, open lands and pastures rich in nutritious grasses and herbs in Kashmir. The problem is further complicated due to the more susceptibility of such poor fed animals to infection by diverse variety of worms. 


The next level of constraint to ruminant productivity is provided by the altered climatic conditions, which has recently posed a new challenge to animal survival and productivity.


The epidemiology and biological attributes of helminthes in relationship to their hosts and the environment are predicted to be directly (distribution of helminthes, development and mortality of free living stages on soil) and indirectly (effects on host range and abundance) affected by the changing climate trends. 



Therefore, climate change may increase the risk of introduction and establishment of new helminth infections in Kashmir ruminants through trade in livestock, as we are dependent on exotic varieties of ruminants to fulfil our day to day needs of food.



Parasitic organisms being smaller (smart and prudent) adapt and acclimate better than their hosts (more complex), and increases in climate variability make it easier for these smart creatures to infect the hosts. This will result in a new form of co-evolution and with the changes in climatic patterns, parallel changes in transmission rates, prevalence, intensity, pathogenicity, seasonality and geographic distribution of major helminthes of ruminants will take place. It is also speculated that climate change will lead to increasingly favourable environmental conditions for many parasites and categorically NOT for all of the ruminant parasites. The rising and increasingly volatile environmental temperatures due to climate change may influence host-parasite interactions to a less or great extent, equally or unequally, however it will be a temporal activity and time will decide its course of action itself. 

Worldwide, elaborate and well planned studies have been conducted on host physiology, parasite biology and environmental ecology to understand the outcome of climate–disease interactions in ruminants in a coordinated manner. In Kashmir valley no such studies have been conducted due to lack of organized researchers or due to least interest in these endeavours. Although many a research work has been conducted on helminthology in Kashmir valley by researchers from SKUAST, University of Kashmir and other organizations, however, no studies have been conducted on the evaluation of helminthes as ideal targets in climate change impact studies. Therefore, intensive studies need to be carried out to understand the actual magnitude and emphasize the relationship between climate change and emerging and re-emerging helminth diseases in this important agro-climatic zone of the world. 



The need of the time is the establishment of local and regional systems for epidemiological monitoring that would assist in the formulation of timely, evidence-based advice on impact of climate change on epidemiology of helminthes and the appropriate control strategies in future. 


Institutions partnership and knowledge dissemination needs to be pursued for which memoranda of understanding need to be signed among the stake holders. Special support and funding should be provided to the concerned departments and research organisations to help and boost the projects and research studies in this field. It becomes imperative to induct and train the volunteers to be designated as “climate change volunteers” to act as a buffer between the actual stake holder-the farmer and the scientists/government. 



To conclude, climate change is a greatest threat to animal health and has emerged as a dominant factor for current and future trends of helminth diseases in ruminants with both direct and indirect impacts on animal production, health and welfare. Long-term epidemiological surveys with improved methodologies and modelling procedures are needed to monitor the change in climate in relevance to worms at farm level.

Idea of hiring CA stores around Delhi needs to be reviewed

Dr G A Qasba

Budget 2018-19 Analysis


The National Saffron Mission (NSM) was primarily focussed on improving the productivity both by way of better agronomical practices/infrastructure (drip-sprinkler irrigation) and also the genetic improvement of the crop. 


The technical departments viz. Department of Agriculture and the SKUAST-K, must place on record as what measures and achievements have been made in the last five years since the project was a high profile announcement followed to then Prime Minister’s visit. 

Besides, it is also a fact that rampant imports from Spain and Iran have hit our saffron industry very adversely. But we have to learn to live in a very competitive world trade that too when India is a signatory to WTO agreements. 


We need to do a reality check by way of reasoning out as to why we cannot compete with Spain and Iran. Allocation of Rs. 5 crores as token money for the saffron industry sounds more of tokenism rather than a real plan of action under NSM. We may still have a huge amount of unspent money available under the mission which needs to be channelised even if it requires some mid course correction. 


My ground experience tells me that Kashmir saffron is still sold through informal channels, mostly by big or small saffron dealers. Some large business houses like Dabur and Amul are also buying Kashmir saffron. We need to consider “saffron contract farming where in the best practices could be followed. 

We need to assure a minimum of 25 percent more cash to the farmer than what he earned in the last three years. This need to be coupled with “saffron showrooms “ in major cities and towns of the country which could be run by Kashmir saffron cooperative federation, on the pattern of best management practices from enterprises like GMMF, Anand. All this needs commitment, consolidation and comprehension. 


On CA stores


A policy decision needs to be taken as to what tonnage of Kashmir apple shall be taken for the CA storage route. That shall determine the capacity of CA stores we need in next five, ten and twenty years. 


Apple is a perennial plant; we need have matching plan of action as the average life of the apple tree varies from 15-25 years. Policy planners while promoting the idea of CA storage of apple need to consider that the idea was to hold back the quality produce in Kashmir itself in CA stores, to address the issues of distress sale of apple in October and November and also address the exploitation by transporters (mostly from Punjab and Haryana ), as the transportation charges skyrocket around Diwali time. 


We must have enough CA storage capacity within the Kashmir valley so that the apple is marked steadily from November till May. This is what major apple producing countries are doing. Idea of hiring CA stores around Delhi needs to be reviewed.


On High density Orchards


This is a good concept and government needs to be applauded on this front, but the yield and life of the high density apple plants (not tree category) is significantly low, and that is something that needs to be factored. Import of high quality fruit plants with due quarantine control, must be initiated in big way. 


(The author is former Managing Director , J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation; Registrar, Cooperatives, J&K; Mission Director, J&K State  Rural Livelihoods Mission)

Lifting import duties on apples could crash apple industry

Prof. Farooq Ahmad Zaki 


Apple is grown on 1.50 lakh hectares with an annual production of 15.00 lakh MT.


 Roughly around 6,000 crores per year is the trade of horticulture in the state with apple occupying the lions share ( roughly around 3,500 Crores). However, due to low scientific knowledge and poor production practices, we have only 30-35% ‘A’ grade apple. 


The apple buyers in the country are becoming more and more quality conscious. With change in trade laws and India opening its borders to other countries, there is lot of advent of imported apples into our country. 


To safeguard our local growers, Govt. of India has imposed 50% import duty on apples. The current difference between selling price of imported verses domestic apples is roughly around 40-50% which promotes the sale /purchase of local apples. If the import duty is reduced any further, we may be out of market as our apple will not be able to compete with the imported apple on quality front.  



Lifting of import duty on the apples from Europe, USA, China etc will crash the apple industry in India because of the better quality of imported apple on one side and because of increased competition in the market. The Chinese and European apples will be available at the prices which will not allow rates of the local apple to go above cost of production due to high production regime, input economy and high intensive and mechanized production system the cost of production per unit of apple yields works out to be lower in China and Europe. 


Market driven forces due to enhanced supplies from foreign countries and better quality will capture the local market, rendering the locally produced apples to a level of no demand.  



Therefore, it is imperative for all the stakeholders, Orchardists, Fruit Growers, Associations, NGOs, Saw Mill Owners, Cardboard dealers, Pesticides and Fertilizer firms and Associations and other stake holders associated directly or indirectly with this industry to sensitize the Government of India about the fall out of the decision and damage it will cause to the apple economy of the state. A colossal loss to a tune of Rs. 6000 crore annual turnover is expected to be caused if the import duty on the imported apple is waived off.


Kashmir Almonds and Kashmir Walnuts have already suffered such losses which have brought these two crops to the brink of catastrophe and people have lost interest in the cultivation of these two important crops in the state. Production systems of all these three (03) important cash crops of the state need to be revamped drastically. The latest, modern and scientific horticultural technologies need to be promoted by the Departments and farmers have compulsion of adopting these technologies to bring cultivation of these crops on a commercial and competitive mode. These technologies will drastically reduce the proportion of ‘B’ & ‘C’ grade apple with corresponding increase in ‘A’ grade Apple which shall be also ideal and economically viable for long term storages for market regulations. 


The better quality and market regulation through CA storages will enable the crop to remain competitive. 


Diversification within horticulture crops from apple to niche area crops like Cherry, Pear, Peaches, Apricot, Kiwi and other crops is required to offset market challenges in changing paradigms. 


(The author is Dean, Faculty of Horticulture SKUAST-K, Shalimar)

opinions from ground zero

Saffron for sustainable cultivation

Dr Zahoor Ahmed Wani
Assistant Professor (Botany), GDC Kishtwar


The dried red stigmas of the flower of the plant Crocus sativus L., known as saffron, comprise the most expensive spice in the world. The importance of saffron is attributed to a set of compounds known as apocarotenoids, which are the degradation products of

the carotenoids. In saffron the apocarotenoids are crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal which are responsible for color, flavor and aroma, respectively. The cultivation of saffron plant is observing a constant decline worldwide including J&K state. This decline in cultivation of saffron worldwide due to poor agronomic practices and disease

management together with lack of breeding approaches has been a matter of concern to the saffron growers as well as agricultural scientists. 


The lack of genetic improvement

strategies due to its sterile nature and lack of established transformation protocols advocates the need to explore other possibilities for sustainable cultivation of saffron.



The endophytes being present inside the plant tissues are most intimately associated with plants; thus they impact the development of the host significantly. Endophytes have been reported to induce secondary metabolism and stress tolerance in the host plants. Therefore, it would be a wise choice to explore the endophytic microbiome of Crocus and investigate its interaction with the host plant. The aim of the our study was

to explore the endophytic fungal microbiome associated with Crocus, and investigate their interactions with host plant so as to develop endophyte based agro technologies for sustainable cultivation of C. sativus. To achieve this aim we divided our study into

two objectives:


In the first objective a comprehensive effort was made to understand the diversity and community structure of fungal endophytes associated with the corms of Crocus sativus Linn., cultivated in the J&K state, India. A total of 294 fungal endophytes were isolated from 990 corm segments at two stages of C. sativus life cycle. These isolates

were grouped into 100 phylotypes based on phenotypic characters like growth pattern, colony texture and colony color, as well as morphology of conidia and conidiophores in some cases. Representative strains from all 100 phylotypes were subjected to molecular

identification based on ITS1-5.8S -ITS2 ribosomal gene sequence analyses. Molecular phylogeny assigned them to 36 distinct internal transcribed spacer (ITS) genotypes, spreading over 19 genera.The diversity of endophytes was higher at the dormant than at

the vegetative stage, indicating influence of corm status on the endophytic diversity.


The Saffron microbiome was dominated by Phialophora mustea and Cadophora

malorum; both are dark septate endophytes (DSEs). As DSEs are known to help the plants to mitigate various abiotic stress conditions, like drought and UV stress, therefore the abundance of DSE in the Crocus microbiome signifies an ecological advantage, which needs to be investigated. An evolutionary study showed that all the DSEs clubbed into a single clade, indicating a selective recruitment of the endophyte by

the host plant. Some endophytes were found to possess antimicrobial properties that could be helpful for the host in evading the pathogens. Specifically ten endophytes significantly inhibited the growth of more than five plant pathogens, indicating a strong bio-control potential. These endophytes generally produced significant quantities of indole acetic acid (IAA) as well, which may help host plant in growth and the microbial symbiont in colonization. However, thirteen of the endophytic taxa were found to cause

corm rot in the host with different levels of severity under in vitro as well as in vivo

conditions. As we have been able to isolate strains of Porostereum sp. producing the corm rot disease in Crocus, it may be the previously unidentified basidiomycete

producing corm rot in C. sativus. This is the first report of community structure and biological properties of fungal endophytes associated with C. sativus. (Wani et al. 2016; Fungal Biology)


In the second objective we selected one endophyte, M. alpina CS10E4 based on the various plant growth promoting properties for further studies. We prepared a bioformulation of the endophyte (M. alpina CS10E4) and treated Crocus corms with

this bioformulation and investigated its effect on apocarotenoid metabolism and stress adaptation of the host plant. The results demonstrated that there was a significant improvement in many morphological parameters particularly the flowering and physiological traits in endophyte treated Crocus plants including total biomass and size

of corms, stigma biomass, number of apical sprouting buds, and number of adventitious roots. The endophyte also shifted metabolic flux towards enhanced production of apocarotenoids by modulating the expression of key genes of apocarotenoid biosynthetic pathway. 


Further, the endophyte CS10E4 enhanced tolerance to corm rot

disease by releasing arachidonic acid which acts as conserved defense signal and induces jasmonic acid production in endophyte treated Crocus corms. This is first report on effect of a fungal endophyte on Crocus apocarotenoid metabolism and stress tolerance. Therefore, the endophyte M. alpina CS10E4 can be taken forward as a

potential biofertilizer for sustainable cultivation of C. sativus in saffron growing

countries.


The above works have been published in Fungal Biology and Nature-Scientific

Reports. We have also filed a patent vide Ref. No. 0074NF2017 for the endophyte

based bioformulation.

What the budget of 2018 should focus on

Adil Rashid Bhatt


The government of J&K quite often flaunts agricultural sector as the primary source of income of  overwhelming majority of the people of our state, and rightly so as our GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) from agriculture is 16% plus. 


The people at the helm of affairs proudly, and with a sense of satisfaction, claim that we are an agricultural based economy but when it comes to the policies vis a vis agriculture - that could steer this prime source of income of the people of  J&K to the right direction, bring it out of the morass of under-production and save it from decaying- all their tall claims fall flat when it comes to policy priorities. 


There are no special policies recommended by the successive governments in any of their fiscal budgets  for this forsaken 'rough and tough' community. In the  arduous working culture in which they have adapted themselves, they endeavour to earn handsomely to feed their families and meet other daily requirements of life. 

Nonetheless agriculture and its allied sectors provide sustainable employment to a vast population of Kashmir, both directly or indirectly. 


It is pertinent to mention here that the economic health of any country/state is measured on its per capita income that directly depends  on its production. 


Now let us talk about some statistics vis a vis our economy and then proceed on to suggest the areas on which the new state budget should focus on in the upcoming budget session that begins tomorrow.

The contribution of our state, J&K, to the national GDP is almost 0.76%, ranking it 20th in the list of Indian states that contribute to it's GDP. This is height of production depravity we are mired in. However our GSDP growth rate has improved over one percent to 6.78% as compared to GDP growth rate at the national level that slumped to 6.88% in 2011-2912 from 9.48% in 2005-2006. In a way ,this deterioration of national growth rates have emboldened us to compete with the national aggregates. The "base" to which if growth multiplication factor is applied yields in proportionally bigger incremental growth to national aggregates in absolute terms  is huge in case of national GDP as  compared to a small GSDP base of J&K.


The "fiscal deficit" is another concerning parameter of the economy of our state. For the year 2012 we were among highest fiscal deficit states amounting to 4.62% ,and ranked third in the list of fiscal deficit states just after Manipur and Pondicherry. Lo and behold, we are among highest grant receiving states ,just the second one, of India; gulping almost 7.5 billions US dollars thus, directly rendering us the most indebted states with around 60% of debt-GSDP ratio. 


Experts of economy may take a holistic view of the plight of our economy in this context, Alas! Our per capita income is also in shambles that is almost 24,215 for our state,J&K, as compared to the national average of 33 thousand, making us 21st among the states of India in this domain also. There is a dire need to look into this aspect of ur economy lest we slump down more and more and achieve the last position in such economic health indicator lists. The contribution of  three main components  to J&K's GSDP during 2011-2012 was viz; Agricultural and allied sectors(19.35%), Industry and manufacturing (26.41%) and Services(54.24%). According to planning commission of India (Niti Ayog) data, preceding years of planning from 2004-05 and 2011-2012 have shown an increase in the share of services only in the GDP from 43.71% to 52.24%, whereas the share of agriculture in GDP has fallen by approximately one third from 28.00% to 19.35% and industrial share has plummeted to 26.41% from 28.23%. The 2014-15 J&K economic survey report states that, from 28% in 2004-05 the contribution of agriculture to states GSDP has slumped to mere 17% . It further says that currently we face a monstrous shortfall in food grains that amounts to almost 80% as compared to 32% faced by us in 1950-51% ,this notwithstanding indiscriminate use of  inorganic fertilizer. The report further notes that ,almost 70% of  people directly or indirectly  depend on agriculture however, the ratio of labour force employed in agricultural activities has dewindled from 85% in 1961 to mere 28% today.  


Due to dearth of a viable industrial/manufacturing and service sector ,it has been unable to find the alternative jobs in J&K adding to the festering unemployment of the state. It further notes that J&K has only 7% net sown area and in it only 41% is irrigated land  so, the process of conversions further complicate the matters for the state as it witnesses between15-20%  growth in import of food grains  per year.


From the above figures ,it is implicit that  the Agricultural production has dwindled to a  considerable extent and the manufacturing sector is almost relatively stagnant ,and it is only the services sector  that is fastly sprouting as an invincible growth  steerer. The matter of concern is this: the combined contribution of the primary and secondary sources of economy is dwindling. while as services sector alone contributes to what the agricultural and manufacturing sector jointly contributes to our economy as per the figures given above. Here we can pause and think for a moment ,which  source sector of the Kashmir economy needs our dire attention. Obviously ,it is agriculture as it is believed that, it employs almost 60- 70% of local kashmiris directly or indirectly. There is great economic injustice when it comes to comparison between agriculturalists and non-agriculturalists and this economic disparity is only increasing with each passing day. A poor farmer seldom manages to fill the mouths in his house with the meagre revenue he generates after arduous endeavours at his farmlands while as the end dealar , shopkeeper, or purchaser of his goods makes fortunes on his sweat drenched produce. This indicates ,our more than 60% Agricultural community is becoming poorer ,which is alarming.
Agricultural sector has the potential to boost manufacturing sector and services sector as well like tourism. We have to give a boost to it to lend credence to our claim of "khud-mukhtar" kashmir. The sector is showing poor performance owing a plethora of factors like  dwindling of land holdings due to haphazardly booming constructions( today we seldom have a land holding of 20 kanals per capita in Kashmir as it used to be just fifteen years ago, instead it has come down to mere 2, 3, 4 or 5 kanals owing to many factors and this has caused fall in production as well), illiteracy, poor irrigation facilities, no subsidy on fertilizers, lack of proper marketing facilities, low price of agricultural produce etc. The purchasing power of a farmer has nosedived and we are importing almost 60 -80% of substandard rice from other states of india. In the past six years  credible figures suggest that, almost twenty percent of agricultural land has been converted into either roads, housing colonies or orchards . In 2007 Kashmir had 160000 hectares of paddy land which shrunk down to 140000 hectares till 2014 and the process of conversion to some other commercial purposes  is rampantly going on under the very nose of the concerned authorities. During this period  20% of area  under maize cultivation also got converted to some other purposes. There has been no substantial grant allocated  for this sector in the successive budgets ,last year it was mere 0.99% and farmer's by and large are unacquainted of new and emerging technologies as well. 


Horticulturalists are scared to implant "high-density" apple trees as they fear uprooting the older full-fledged orchards would render them unemployed for years together. Here , government needs to do something and encourage farmer's to plant newly imported "high-density" frut plants. May be, economic assistance will do for them what they are scared of doing, this a comprehensive budget this time for this forsaken but witty an hardworking community. The government need to think out of box and do extensive research to find out and identify the areas and villages for setting up of cluster vegetable gardens and endow farmer's with storage facilities so that they become fully self reliant in production and marketing their produce. If anybody wants to setup a fruit based industrial unit he ought be lended a helping hand by the incumbent government in the form of cheap loans thus, the provisions of financial assistance to such farmers should be kept in mind while formulating the new budget. The government would do well of by spending financial resources they identify some model villages and setup some allied agricultural units like sericultures ,sheep husbandry/breeding units , polutry units etc. Government would also do well by promotin organic farming and less reliance on fertilizers and hazardous pesticides . For this a good amount should be kept in this budget compensate farmer's if they initially suffer losses by practising organic farming. Government should infact offer "minimum support price" for their agricultural produce  as  income from farming is falling owing to rising labour costs. The government would do well  if they assist farmer's I'm spending centrally sponsored funds and  acquaint them about other  incentives of the central governmemt because, by and large ,our farmer community remains unaware about the central governments welfare schemes for farmer's. Investment is also direly needed in irrigation schemes as it has been quite often observed by this author that, wherever it becomes difficult for a farmer to irrigate his field he either plants Russian poplar in the field or lends the lands on lease to brick klin owners .  Other allied sectors  of agriculture like poulry , fisheries, sheep husbanry, dairy products etc warranty similar treatment from this incumbent government. These sectors not only add to our GSDP but provide employment to thousands of our people and have the ability to pivot our state to self sufficiency. The demand of polutry farmer's to grant poultry an inistrual status will take our poultry production to a self reliable level and we can become exporters rather than importers of this essential food item. Expersts believe that, kashmir is congenial for growth and nourishment of chicks  which we unfortunately or due to our lack of will import from Punjab and other northern states of the country who in turn import the seeds from European countries that have the similar climatic conditions as we have in Kashmir.

Fisheries is critical to Kashmir

Mir Mukhtar Ahmad

 

Studies show a decline of one half of fish population with only one half remaining . The main reasons being loss of essential fish habitats, pollution & global warming.


History of World Fisheries Day 


World Fisheries Day occurred on the same day that an international fishermen’s organization was formed in New Dehli, India. The World Fisheries Forum (WFF) was established on November 21, 1997. On that day, fishing representatives from 18 countries signed a declaration advocating for a global mandate of sustainable fishing practices and policies. The creation of WFF was founded on the common principles of sustaining the fishing communities, sustaining the fisheries, social justice, and preserving the cultural history of fish harvesters and fish workers.


Kashmir Fisheries 


Kashmir which is known as crown & Switzerland of India, constitutes, the extreme western section of the Himalayas, which lies between 33°1 to 35°6'N latitude and 73°48`to 75°30`E longitude. Nature has bestowed this beautiful part with large riverine system,  including Indus, Chenab, Jhelum, Suru, Shyok and some important streams like Lidder, Veshav,Bringhi, Sandrani, kishanganga, Doodh ganga and Remb Ara.The streams & Rivers harbour a number of fish species and a great bulk of population is associated with fishing activity. The state has  wide varietions , owing to which climatic conditions of the state are of extreme type. 


Valley which is known as "Angler's Paradise " it's fishing has attracted tourists from Decades. Valley has varieties of Fishes species present in its Naturally oxygenated Freshwater. Water being the cold and fresh contains number of tasty fishes like Rain bow trout(Salmo trato faria), Brown Trout  (onchrynkiss Mykis) Schizothorax spp of Kashur Guard, Ram guard, gurun, churut, tethor, kandig, Anour , carps & Sopore guard etc. Four varieties of kashmir cuisine are famous like Ruwangan guard, hak guard, mujeh guard & Nadre guard. To cultivate the fishes through modern techniques & as an entrepreneurship Department of fisheries was established, which comes under the Administrative department of forests. Department has established a world class Trout Hatchery in Kokernag, which fetches tonnes of Trout fishes. 

Fishermen community, the poorest of the poor  community associated with this profession in Kashmir, known as Haanji or Haenz living around Famous Dal Lake, Wular lake and on banks of River Jhelum from Khanabal to Chattabal. There condition & style of livelihood has not changed. It is the only community in Kashmir, where women work more than men and shoulder 90 % household expenditure.This community has to battle ups and downs of doing business in volatile rein.Despite all odds this community continues to break all stereo types. From dawn to dusk, the women folk sell fishes from place to place and whole day you will see them cutting, cleaning and weighing the fishes. 

Despite of all odds and working honestly, this community has remained poorest of the poor & getting treatment of untouchables due to ignorance & negative attitude of the successive Govt's. 


We as good human beings have to come for their rescue to provide them the rights that all human beings are supposed to enjoy.


Author is MFSC & freelance writer