Kulgam (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], September 11 (ANI): Apple Farmers Federation of India (AFFI) on Monday held a conference named “Save Apple Save Kashmir” over the central government's decision to lift additional import duty on foreign apples.

CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami while addressing the conference said “Apple provides livelihood to thousands of families but these farmers are facing severe distress due to lack of remunerative price and non-availability of storage facilities. All claims of development remain hollow unless livelihood issues of common people are not addressed.”

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The conference demanded 100 per cent import duty on foreign apples, provision of fertilizers and pesticides at subsidized rates to apple farmers, and construction of cold stores in every apple-producing district.

Tarigami further said that the alarming rise in unemployment has created uncertainty among the educated youth.

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“No recruitment is taking place thus youth are facing alienation. Scheme workers who are getting meagre wages are not being paid on time. Businesses have been shattered in the last few years. People are suffering because of the wrong policies of the government,” Tarigami said.

The CPI(M) leader further stressed the elections in Jammu and Kashmir and said that the Central government is reluctant to hold elections.

“The basic denial of democracy and democratic rights of the people is seen most acutely in the failure to hold assembly elections. Even after the delimitation exercise that was weighted to favour particular party's interests and reduce the representation of the people of Kashmir valley, the Central government is reluctant to hold elections. CPI(M), therefore, demands that elections be held to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly immediately for restoration of democracy,” the CPI(M) leader said. (ANI)

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