Srinagar, Sep. 30 (ANI): The rapid increase in urbanisation and allied infrastructure development activities are causing a shrinking of agricultural land in the Kashmir Valley.
Farmers fear that this growing trend of private builders to purchase farmland for building residential colonies would lead to a devastating food crisis in that Kashmir Valley in the coming years.
Though the law prevents the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, the allotment of the land for construction comes under the jurisdiction of the town planning authorities.
"Whenever land is used other than agriculture purposes, for that government permission has to be taken. But our towns, cities have also expanded and master plans are always being developed," said Agriculture Minister Gulam Hassan Mir.
"So, they determine the use of the land due to which the problem has come up of mushroom growth of constructions in the agricultural lands," he added.
The trend of losing farmland to urbanization has left farmers worried.
"Construction on agricultural land should not be undertaken as the population is increasing day by day and it is dependent on this. From the earlier days, the agriculture land is very less here. Many lands have jungles, or there is no water available or it is a dry area," said Bashir Ahmad, a local resident.
"Agriculture land on which paddy is harvested, on that construction is very wrong. It will affect the coming generations," he added.
Eighty percent of people engaged in agriculture are in the rural areas of the state and their sole means of livelihood is farming.
Presently around 160,000 hectares of land is under paddy cultivation while it is believed that over the past decade alone, 10,000 hectares of cultivable land in the Valley has been taken over for urbanisation. By Afzal Bhat (ANI)