Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised the Centre on Monday for reducing import duties on fruits from other countries, arguing that it would harm the interests of fruit growers in the country.
Abdullah expressed his concerns in Srinagar saying, "The decision to reduce duty on fruit imports will adversely affect our fruit growers, especially those from mountainous areas like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. I don't understand the rationale behind making Americans and others happy with such actions."
He urged the government to prioritise the interests of its people. "If the government isn't thinking about the people of Kashmir, they should at least consider the people of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh," he said.
Abdullah emphasised that there is no need to import apples, walnuts, and almonds from other countries into India because the domestic produce is of high quality. He suggested that the government might have taken these decisions to appease outsiders.
He expressed hope that the government would reconsider its decision and provide relief to the growers. Abdullah questioned the wisdom of hosting the G20 event in India when such decisions negatively impact local interests, stating, "Instead of trying to please G20 countries, the government should prioritise the welfare of its own people. G20 is over; now it's time to focus on our people and their welfare."
The former chief minister highlighted the lack of coordination between the government and the growers, stating that the government seems disconnected from the common people and their needs.
He called upon the Lieutenant Governor to convene a meeting with fruit growers and engage with them directly. Abdullah emphasised that it's essential to listen to the concerns of common growers and address their grievances promptly.