In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, in a bid to deprive the Kashmiri people of the world’s most costly spice by weight, Saffron, the Modi-led fascist Indian government has decided to shelve the 13-years old International Trade Centre (ITC) project in the Semporna area of Pampore, known for Saffron production, and use the designated 300 kanals of land for an IT project.
The ITC project was approved in 2007. The same year, IIOJK Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad laid the foundation stone.
“Rs 29 crore was earmarked for the project and, as far as my information, Rs 5 crore had been released.
But the land lay vacant with only a boundary wall constructed around it in all these years,” a local newspaper said. The newspaper said that the scheme was shelved and a new scheme was launched in its place, with the name of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES).
The Industries and Commerce Department has now taken over the land, which intends to create an Information Technology hub there. Saffron growers in Pampore expressed dejection when they came to know about the shelving of the ITC, for they had serious hopes pinned on the project.
The ITC was a purported game changer as buyers from across the world were supposed to visit the place, where Kashmiri saffron growers and artisans would have showcased their products to garner attention in the international market.
“We are still dependent on visits to Delhi and other places to sell our produce. Had this project been taken seriously, many of us would have preferred to sell our produce here rather than going to different states to find buyers,” Abdul Khaliq, a saffron grower in Pampore, told media.
He said that artisans, dry fruit growers and others would also have benefited from the ITC as middlemen would have been taken out of the equation. “It is really unfortunate that such a project has been shelved,” he said.—KMS