In Next Two Decades Kashmir Is Likely To Loose Its Golden Crop

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In Next Two Decades Kashmir Is Likely To Loose Its Golden Crop
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”As dust coming out from cement factories falls over tiny plants or leaf surface, it first blocks its stomata and reduces the corum or saffron yield to half of its production. Dust also blocks air channels of these plants’’.


Imtiyaz Wani

For centuries, these fields produced golden crop – saffron. But now the plumes of dust emanating from a cement plants and stone quarries slowly turn the home of this golden crop into barren patch of land. And if preventive measures are not taken immediately, Kashmir may loose its Saffron in next two decades.
In South Kashmir, saffron is cultivated on three thousand hectares of land and its annual production is around six to seven tons. The scientists had projected that Valley has a potential to produce 30 tons of saffron but the production is dwindling. The saffron fields situated in Khrew, Pampore and Wuyan are facing threat from cement factories and saffron production has come down drastically in the past few years.
“Saffron production is dropping and efforts are being made to safeguard its production,” says a senior scientist at Sheri Kashmir University for Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST). 
A research study conducted by a senior Professor of SKUAST, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone had claimed that cement dust is causing loss to Kashmir’s golden crop in a big way. “In rest of the world, the per hectare saffron yield is six to seven kilograms. However, in the fields of Kashmir around the cement factories it is less than a kilogram,’’
Lone in his paper says that cement dust is dangerous for good production and cultivation of saffron. The dust emanating from cement plants has dangerous impact on saffron fields for years together.
”As dust coming out from cement factories falls over tiny plants or leaf surface, it first blocks its stomata and reduces the corum or saffron yield to half of its production. Dust also blocks air channels of these plants’’.
Lone further writes that there is an apparent difference in the production of saffron from fields around cement plants and those away from it. “Most of saffron fields, where production has been hit are located near Khrew, Wuyan, Pampore and Kanmoh as the cement plants operating in the area are without electro-static precipitators.”
He States that the fields situated far away from cement plants or stone quarries are showing 2.5 to 3 kilograms of saffron yield per hectare.
The saffron is not the only victim of these cement factories and stone quarries.
 Even the actories are posing risk to our environment Though some factories have installed pollution control devices, but these devices are only operated when any official or minister visits the area.
The industrial waste from these cement plants is putting the near extinct Hangul in danger. “The mining and large amounts of dust pollution that includes carbon, sulfur wastes emanating from the cement plants not only put human lives at risk but are also threatening the existence of endangered species Hangul, black bear and leopards,” says Abdul Rashid Wani, a senior citizen who has been spearheading campaign against the closure of these cement factories.

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