Pain of Peanuts

Srinagar Semi Ring Road: Land affectees demand better compensation

Srinagar, Feb 4: Scores of farmers and land owners whose land is being acquired for the construction of the Semi Ring Road connecting Pampore and Manigam are protesting what they see as inadequate compensation. 

The protesters, who have organised themselves as Semi Ring Road Land Owners Welfare Committee, held a protest at Srinagar’s Press Enclave on Saturday to press for their demands.

The issue:

An alternate 62 km highway is coming up connecting outer Pampore highway with Manigam, Ganderbal via Wathoora-Chadoora, Budgam, Wadwan, Narbal, Sumbal and Lar Ganderbal. 

Several thousand acres of agriculture land are planned to be acquired in Pulwama, Budgam, parts of Baramulla, Bandipora and Ganderbal districts. 

In the first phase,  Gallandar to Narbal stretch will be taken up for development, followed by Manigam-Ganderbal stretch. Most of the affected district will be Budgam, as around 4000 kanals of land are planned to be acquired there. 

In Ganderbal, 2341 Kanals of land will be acquired. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for executing this project and the said authority has  already deposited the funds into the accounts of respective Deputy Commissioners (DCs). The process of payment of land compensation has  started. 

The affected land owners maintain that they have not been duly consulted and that they are not part of any deliberations or discussions for the land identification and compensation process. The affected communities believe that the government and NHAI should consider their demands before moving forward.

"The fundamental problem is that while the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) pays adequate compensation to the farmers or people whose land and property are acquired for construction of highways in other states of India, peanuts are being paid in Kashmir”, Raja Muzaffar Bhat, who is part of the farmer's campaign, told Ziraat Times. 

“In other states NHAI follows the norm of compensation that is four times the market rate of land in rural areas and two times in urban areas. They even provide jobs in certain cases”, Mr Muzaffar added.  

As per the provisions of new Land Acquisition Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act (LARR) enacted by Congress-lead UPA Government in 2013, land and property owners get four times more compensation than the market value of land/ property in rural areas and two times in urban areas. The said law, however, is not applicable to J&K. 

"We took up this matter with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Revenue and Works Minister plus several Ministers, MoSs , MLAs and MLCs , but no concrete steps have been taken. Even farmers are not taken into confidence”, Abdul Khaliq, one of the affected farmers told Ziraat Times.

Compensation to orchardists: 

As on date the compensation paid to 

apple, pear and plum orchardists is between Rs 15 to 16 per Kg. This rate has been fixed way back in 1995 with 2 % increase after every 2 years. Right now even a B class apple per kg fetches Rs 50 to 60 / Kg in market , but the farmers are paid mere Rs 16,  which the affected farmers see as a grave injustice. 

"The matter has been brought into the notice of Minister for Horticulture Syed Basharat Bukhari \, Secretary Horticulture and Director Horticulture Kashmir who all have given assurance to revise the rates. But till date nothing has been done in this regard”, G A Paul, one of the organisers of the campaign, told ZIraat Times. 

Key demands of the affected farmers 

  • Pay compensation as per Central Land Acquisition Act (4 times more rate than market rate)
  • Govt must pass Ordinance for New Land Acquisition Act 
  • NHAI must hold Private Negotiations with farmers / affected people
  • Provide Jobs to affected families 
  • Provide Compensation to orchardists as per present value of Fruit 

Misheard voices

Faizah Ayub Mir

December extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds as the morning temperatures in Kashmir dipped down to zero. Most days began with a bitter cold which made it impossible for me to leave the warmth of the blanket and yet, dream of a reality away from the odds.

Surely everyone is aware of the divine winter pleasures but nothing could've  outdone the earthy smell of smoked paprika which activated my olfactory nerves while I heard my mother scream, Wake up. It's Harissa time again." 

The struggle of choosing between my sleep and the piping hot Harissa that awaited me  appeared more strenuous than the India - Pakistan relations. 

I could feel everything which was happening around me without even opening my eyes. Right from the winter sun peeping through the frosty glass of the window to the fields being gently draped in a white quilt. The irresistible aroma however came with a warning. I could hear my mother conspiring with her little solider to wake me up, who never failed to miss a single opportunity to harass me. While I was still convincing myself to get out of the blissful cocoon I'd created for myself, I could hear the foot steps of our commando approaching and sensed that it was time for me to end the relationship which I had established with my bed. It was difficult to let go and so when my mother pulled off the blanket, I begged and said " Five minutes more, please", just the way a hopeless lover would cry for closure.

But then I heard something extremely weird. "Faizah, you're late for college. Give a halt to your dreams", my roommate exclaimed.

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Agriculture students and technocrats appeal to Agriculture Minister and Vice Chancellor, SKUAST

AIASA J&K & Students Council SKUAST-K Shalimar

All J&K Unemployed Agriculture Youth

We “All J&K Unemployed Agriculture Youth” demand the due attention from your humble self towards some of the below mentioned grievances.

1. Respected sir, it is pertinent to mention here that every year around 300 agriculture graduates and around 100 postgraduates are being awarded degrees from the two state agriculture universities viz. SKUAST-K and SKUAST-J. Further there are about 300 agricultural students who have even completed their Ph.D. from top most agricultural universities of the country by qualifying different competitive exams at National and State level but are sitting idle due to non-availability of quality jobs and are passing through a tough phase of social and mental stigma.

2. Respected sir, the sheer injustice is that there has been zero direct recruitment process in the Agriculture Production Department (APD) from almost last 10-12 years through the service selection board and public service commission, which is a matter of grave concern. And the situation has got worsened by the fact that the two state agriculture universities have increased the intake capacity by 300% (approximately).

3. Respected sir, we also find it obligatory to bring it in your cognizance that during last a few years since the fast track recruitment was started, posts from every department were referred to the recruiting bodies like SSRB and PSC but to the dismay of agricultural graduates not a single recruitment was made in the Agriculture Production Department by SSRB and PSC.

4. Respected Sir, around 200 posts of Agriculture extension officers and similarly around 1000 posts of that of junior agriculture extension officers are lying vacant in the APD however none of the posts were advertised by PSC and SSRB due to the lackadaisical and negligent approach of APD as they are not referring these posts to the recruiting bodies. Further, since 2005 officials are continuously being promoted to the AEO’s posts but the direct recruitment quota of 20% have not been referred to JKPSC due to unknown reasons.

5. Respected sir instead of addressing the genuine problems of unemployed agricultural professionals the State Govt. on the contrary came with the amendment of the recruitment rules via SRO-442 on 23 Oct 2017 which mentions that the posts of Junior agriculture extension officers will be filled 100% on promotional basis which otherwise was on 60:40 percent basis (60 percent by direct recruitment and 40 percent by promotion) thereby, leaving the unemployed professionals high and dry. However, here it is necessary to bring in your good notice that Govt. is trying to be fool us with the 100% direct recruitment of newly created post of Agriculture Extension Assistant previously known as VAEA which is already 100% occupied by the ReZ people and will only get vacant when they will get promoted to the post of JAEO which will take at-least 10 years from here on as their working/counting service in the departments of agri is just 2 years. Here it is pertinent to mention that how these people will be promoted to these posts without having undergone any screening test and we people are expected to accept that VAEA post even after-going through competitive examination.

6. So we request you sir to look into the amended SRO 442 to its original form (60:40 ratio) for JAEO posts and maintain the 50:50 ratio for AEO’s which was rule prior to 2005 and also refer all the posts lying vacant in the APD to the PSC and SSRB for fast track recruitment.

7. Respected Sir in addition to the above cited problems we are currently facing, we would like to draw your kind attention to another grave matter which although is sub-judicial but needs your due attention. In 2015, APD after a deeps lumber of more than a decade, referred 69 posts of JAEO’s to SSRB which were subsequently advertised but exam could not be held by SSRB due to its lackadaisical approach and finally the written examination was held on18-11- 2017, and selection list was tentatively scheduled to be uploaded by or before 15 December 2017. However, unfortunately the JKATA association (which previously was ReZ’s association and now promoted as VAEA’s) have approached the Hon’ble JK high court (copy enclosed) on the grounds of rules mentioned in SRO-442 were in they want 100% recruitment by promotion and hence thereby leaving no scope for direct recruitment. And the sheer injustice is that they are pressing the demand that there trospective effect of this draconian ordinance SRO 442 should be implemented even to these 69 posts which were advertised almost 3 years prior to this ordinance. Instead of citing excuses, if they have the mettle and worth, they are most welcome to compete with us in the direct recruitment process carried through SSRB and PSC and out compete us. In that case we will not complaint that they should be not

be allowed to appear in the direct recruitment since law permits them. But they are pressing some illegitimate demands which will be dealt with great strength and will have serious repercussions.

8. Respected Sir this is not the first time earlier also in 2005 ReZ association went to the high court of Jammu and Kashmir for quashing of advertisement notice No.16-PSC of 2005 dated 13-10- 2005 against the advertised posts of AEO’s on similar grounds and in 2008 the high court admitted the candidate who have applied in terms of the advertisement notice and waited for their selection have undergone through pain and agony because of the restraint order of the court and have been deprived of three years of their life. And Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir on 18-12 2008 made judgment (copy of judgment enclosed) which clearly states that the “the vacancies which occurred prior to the amended rules would be governed by the old rules and not by the amended rules and the Rez’s have no right to challenge the advertisement notice which relates to direct recruitment quota and not the promotional quota.” So, we request your good self please don’t let the Rez’s again to waste precious time of our life and initiate the departmental enquiry and action against them for doing the same again and again. As their sole motive is to halt the selection process to get the seniority benefits in the department.

9. Respected sir, with respect to the advertisement notification No.05 of 2015 dated 01- 09.2015 for the 69 JAEO’s the seat distribution mentioned was not as per the guidelines (SRO 294). In this regard representation was submitted by Rahat Ashraf Wani & others

(copy enclosed) to clarify the position how variation between the roasted and the percentage have been allowed to occur. And it have came to our notice that the directorate have clarified their stand to the Agriculture Production Department, Civil Secretariat but the same have not been communicated with JKSSB till date So, we request you to please communicate the same as early as possible.

10. Respected sir, we have earlier approached with our above mentioned grievances to the CM’s grievance cell (copy enclosed) and concerned Hon’ble Minister Jenab Ghulam Nabi Hanjura but these efforts proved unfruitful. So, we are requesting yourself with folded hands to look into the matter seriously and save precious time of hundreds of Agriculture students for being wasted by selfishness of certain persons.

Respected sir, we request your humble self to demand the government to go for the proper verification pf the degrees via ICAR . Also confinement of REZ policy to these people as there has been no recruitment from 2004 in the same policy and wrap the policy with their retirement.

We are here by attaching the required documents which will support our above demands and grievances.

State President AIASA J&K & President Students Council SKUAST-K

Horticulture graduates express resentment on recruitment policies

Srinagar, Dec 2: Horticulture Graduates Association has expressed deep resentment for what they call "biased" recruitment policies for horticulture graduates. 

In a statement, the Association has said 

"Being Horticulture state, B.Sc. Horticulture as a professional degree was started in SKUAST-Kashmir from 2007. In last ten years, J&K Horticulture Department has not engaged any Horticulture scholars for any gazetted or non-gazetted posts and none of unemployed Horticulture Scholars (700) has been absorbed. And this year 2017 was declared as horticulture year by state Govt. and SKUAST-K is producing qualified/trained human resource in this regard unfortunately State Govt. had no plan to engage Horticulture graduates. J&K Govt. has started HDP in horticulture sector and almost every scholar can be absorbed in this mega project of your Govt.

The recruiting agency of state JKPSC has still kept M.Sc. Horticulture as basic eligibility criteria for Horticultural posts, keeping PG as basic eligibility only in case of horticulture for rest of all the departmental posts it is graduation in concerned subject. JKPSC has notified HDO posts in 2013 but due to lacunae in the eligibility criteria, these posts have still writ in the Hon’ble High court. 

The eligibility for the horticulture posts should be re- framed in such a way that a justice will be given to Horticulture Graduates and should be re-drafted as per JKPSC eligibility of other equivalent posts viz AEO.

The posts lying vacant in JKSSB has eligibility as Horticulture Diploma and no eligibility for horticulture graduates, the Horticulture Graduates are not eligible for any non-gazetted as well as gazetted posts of state.

AFO (Assistant Floriculture Officer) posts are categorically posts of Horticulture graduates as it falls in the 4 main branches of Horticulture should also have M.Sc.

Horticulture as eligibility in case of non-availability of B.Sc. Horticulture.

Posts created and referred by the Agriculture production department related Horticulture (Marketing Grading officer) must exclusively have B.Sc. Horticulture as basic eligibility.

We the unemployed Horticultural graduates of J&K feel our degrees are of no worth unless we are eligible for our posts, we are in state of deep trauma as we have been waiting from last 10 years for state Govt. to address our problems. If our grievances are not addressed soon we are going to take extreme steps like we will burn our useless degrees before the secretariat. We are hopeful that our grievances will be addressed soon.