The current BJP government is already reeling under a loan of more than Rs 3.45 lakh crore and is most likely to take a fresh loan of Rs 1000 crore from the market in the next couple of days.
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on Monday slammed the BJP government for lifting additional duty on the import of apple and other fruits from America that would badly hit the Kashmiri growers. They urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision.
Congress Working Committee (CWC) Member Ghulam Ahmad Mir also averred that lifting additional duties shall lead to economic distress, huge losses to J&K and Himachal fruit industry.
The decision of the government to withdraw additional duties that were levied in 2019 has coincided with the visit of US President Joe Biden to New Delhi to participate in the G20 summit.
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti wrote on X: “GOI’s decision to remove additional duties on apples, walnuts and almonds will have a devastating effect on local growers in J&K already grappling with huge losses.”
Mir urged the Centre to revisit the decision in the larger interests of growers. Adding that post 2019, Kashmir fruit industry is confronted with losses, Mir said there was need for a special bailout package for the growers to overcome the economic crisis instead the decision regarding lifting import duties on American products shall create more problems for the growers and market as well.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah expressed dismay over removal of additional duties on Apple, walnuts, and almond imports from the USA, saying the measure will directly hit the interests of the horticulture industry in Kashmir.
“The quantum of cheap apples and dry fruits entering India from the US will eat into the market share of the Kashmiri produce as a result of which the growers will suffer huge economic losses. The local fruit industry is already facing stiff challenges due to the weather vagaries, road blockages, dearth of cold storage facilities, escalating production cost and much more,” he said.
“The industry is no longer delivering good returns, making the business unviable for as the imported fruits will see for a much cheaper price. The horticulture sector in Kashmir has already lost momentum due to the failure of the government to address concerns of the growers. The decision will further push them to the wall,” added Omar.