The first November snowfall in Kashmir since 2009 “a catastrophe.”
6 Nov 2018 – The first November snowfall in Kashmir since 2009 on Saturday plunged Kashmir into darkness, forced closure of the lifeline Srinagar-Jammu national highway and disrupted air traffic.
With the apple harvest yet to be completed, the snowfall caused widespread damage to the mainstay of the Valley economy – horticulture.
State horticulture director Manzoor Qadri said fruit growers had suffered “heavy damages,” explaining that some orchards in Anantnag and Shopian had lost 60 to 70% fruit-bearing capacity.
All Valley Fruit Growers Association chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat said almost 20% of the apple crop may have been damaged in South Kashmir alone and put the estimated loss at Rs 1,000 crore.
Orchardist Ghulam Nabi Dar called the snowfall “a catastrophe” and said he had lost over 60 trees. “…my earning will come down to mere 20 to 30%. I do not know how my family will survive as the apple orchard is my only livelihood. A tree takes two decades to mature and the snowfall has ruined our hard work of years.’’
Dar’s neighbour, Khurshid Ahmad, said he lost at least 25 apple trees, which would have fetched him around ~1 lakh.
In North Kashmir’s Kupwara, fruit grower Farooq Ahmad Malik said “I had delayed harvest due to Diwali as it fetches good rates during the festival season. Unfortunately, I lost all the harvest, which is now under snow.”
Bhat said almost 20% of the apple crop was yet to be plucked when it began snowing in South Kashmir.
“We have lost hundreds of apple-bearing trees,’’ he said.
An estimated 2.5 million out of Kashmir’s seven million people are believed to be directly or indirectly dependent on horticulture.
Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for this link