Jammu, Aug 30 : The ongoing land shrine row has badly hit the rice sellers in Ranbir Singh Pura district of Jammu.
A couple of months back, the farmers in the area were upbeat about their rice crop. Even the wholesale dealers were rejoicing, as the producers had already wrapped up 70 per cent of their sowing by July.
The rates of the premium quality Basmati rice had risen from Rs.2000 per quintal last year to Rs.6, 000. spelling an almost three-fold increase in the profits this year.
But the celebrations were marred by the shutdowns and curfews over the transfer of land to a Hindu shrine board.
Wholesale dealers said that the local distributions are almost nil. Even their payments have been badly affected since the banks are closed either due to the shutdown calls or because of the curfew.
"The local distribution is almost nil. The shops are closed and people don't come out to buy. There is an interest burden also that is accumulating," said Harmohidner Singh, a Basmati rice dealer.
Many shopkeepers said that the premium quality rice of Ranbir Singh Pura was famous among the tourists and pilgrims also. With a fall in the number of tourists their already suffering business is in shambles.
The region has been witnessing agitation and protests for almost past two months on the issue of allotment of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board for setting up temporary shelters for the devotees taking part in the annual Amarnath Yatra.