- November 2, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Saffron is one of the world’s most costly spices by weight. Around 75,000 saffron blossoms produce a single pound of saffron spice and the cost varies between ₹2 and ₹3 lakh per kilogram.It grown in areas having karewas.
- In the Kashmiri dialect, the term Karewa means “elevated table land”.
- Karewas are lacustrine deposits (deposits in lake) in the Valley of Kashmir and in Bhadarwah Valley of the Jammu Division.
- Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines.
- Firstly, this term was used by Godwin Austin in 1859 and later on by Lydekker in 1878 for unconsolidated to semi-consolidated sand clay conglomerate sequence.
- “Vudr” is the local name for Karewas in Kashmiri language.
- Karewas were formed during the Pleistocene Period (1 million years ago), when the entire Valley of Kashmir was under water.
- Due to the rise of Pirpanjal, the drainage was impounded and a lake of about 5000 sq. km area was developed and thus a basin was formed.
- Subsequently, the lake was drained through Bramulla gorge. The deposits left in the process are known as karewas.
- This is ideal for cultivation of saffron, almonds, apples and several other cash crops.
Significance of Karewas:
- Karewa deposits have different soil and sediments such as sand, clay, silt, shale, mud, lignite and losses. Hence, these are very useful for agricultural and horticulture activities.
- Kashmir saffron, which received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2020 for its longer and thicker stigmas, deep-red colour, high aroma and bitter flavour, is grown on these karewas.
- Karewa formations are useful for the cultivation of Zafran is a local variety of Saffron in Kashmir valley.
- The fertility of these patches is believed to be the result of their long history of formation.
- Kashmir valley resides between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal ranges of the Kashmir Himalayas. In earlier times, when the upliftment of the Pir Panjal ranges happened, the flow of the river had stopped.
- The Kashmir valley is an oval-shaped basin, 140 km long and 40 km wide, trending in the NW–SE direction.
- It is an intermountain valley fill, comprising of unconsolidated gravel and mud.
- A succession of plateaus is present above the Plains of Jhelum and its tributaries. These plateau-like terraces are called ‘Karewas’ or ‘Vudr’ in the local language.
- Despite continuous erosion since millions of years, more than half of the valley is still occupied by the Karewa.
- As a result, the whole of Kashmir valley became a large lake. Slowly, the glacial deposits have accumulated here in this lake. Thus creating a large lacustrine plain.
- Later on, the water drained away and these unconsolidated deposits remained there. These unconsolidated gravel and mud deposits are known as Karewa formation.
- It formed during the Pleistocene period (2.6 million years to 11,700 years ago).
Threats to Karewas:
- Despite its agricultural and archaeological importance, Karewas are now being excavated to be used in construction.
- Between 1995 and 2005, massive portions of karewas in Pulwama, Budgam and Baramulla districts were razed to the ground for clay for the 125-km-long Qazigund-Baramulla rail line.
- The Srinagar airport is built on the Damodarkarewa in Budgam.