Sweet Apple Pie For US, Bitter For Kashmir

The voices being raised by the stakeholders associated with apple production in J&K and a few politicians against the Government of 's decision to offer bountiful tax relief to the apple growers seem to be a strange move.

India, being a welfare state, should have prioritized the orchardists of the country over Washington. The apple industry is already facing numerous challenges, such as the recent traffic disruption on NH 44 due to a landslide. Despite the administration's assurance the day before to ensure disruption-free movement of trucks laden with fruits, they were unable to ferry them to different markets across the country.

The strange and ignorant decision by the Centre to approve Washington apples with significant reductions in levies, just as Kashmiri and Himachali apples are ready to be harvested and enter the market, is likely to shatter the dreams of Indian traders and orchardists. This decision raises a big question mark on the intelligence of those responsible for this ill-timed and obtuse decision, which has the potential to devastate the local fruit industry in J&K. The Centre, which always boasts about its efforts to revitalize this industry and others, should reconsider this decision.

Union Government's decision to waive off 20 per cent tax on the apples reaching India from Washington shows the quantum of indifference which the Centre is carrying along because it never pondered for even a jiffy while taking this suicidal decision as far as farmers and traders of J&K are concerned.

This kind of phlegmatic attitude of the very own government towards one of the mainstays of the of the UT of J&K shows the contrast between what the Union Government promises and what is being done on ground.

The situation is quite critical, and those raising their voice against the aforementioned decision should be supported by all stakeholders and even the common masses. Every dime that J&K receives through this industry helps enhance development, growth, and prosperity in the region. These are the main necessities for J&K at the moment.

After a long time, the Crown of India, J&K, has conquered turmoil; however, such pointless decisions could hinder the journey of the Union Territory towards peace, progress, and prosperity.

Hence, it is imperative for the Union Government to reconsider its decision on importing apples at the expense of the local industry.