The Kashmir Valley has seen a spate of COVID-19 cases at one of its hospitals and cold storage units for apples, with 836 people testing positive.
Speaking to The Hindu, Dr Salim Khan, head of the department for social and preventive medicine and nodal officer for COVID-19, said: “Around 20 staff members have been put in administrative quarantine. A majority of staff has been tested and found negative. Sanitisation of the hospital has been done and the admitted patients have been isolated.”
According to the report, at least 14 people who have come into contact with workers at a cold storage in Rangreth have tested positive, leading to a large-scale isolation of workers in the unit. In a statement, a spokesman of FIL Industries, the firm that runs the cold storage unit, said a fruit packer from Budgam, who is not an employee of the company, tested positive on May 6.
TAGS: Kashmir, COVID-19, apple
Kashmir’s apple sector is expanding. The country’s 2019 apple crop is estimated at almost 2 million tons, according to data from the Department of Horticulture, published in The Kashmir Monitor. This represents an increase of 100,000 tons on the previous campaign.
Kashmir’s horticultural sector has recovered well from the devastating floods of 2014, when apple production was just 1.1 million tons. Director of Horticulture Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said the government incentives and the introduction of modern technology are the main reasons for achieving the feat: “Modern technology helped increase the production last year. Every piece of land now gives Rs 50,000 to 70,000 returns to a grower. This is motivating other people to take to apple farming. Motors, weeders and many machines are being provided to the growers at subsidised rates. We are even now providing subsidies to growers adopting high-density plantations.”