Fruit-laden trucks stranded on highway, traders protest in Sopore : The Tribune India

Fruit-laden trucks stranded on highway, traders protest in Sopore

Valley’s Rs 8,000-crore apple industry in distress for years, say growers

Fruit-laden trucks stranded on highway, traders protest in Sopore

Traders during a protest in Sopore on Wednesday. Tribune photo



Samaan Lateef

Srinagar, September 14

Fruit growers on Wednesday started Kashmir-wide protests, claiming that 90% of the apple-laden trucks were stranded due to the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Nearly 1,500 trucks, mostly from Sopore, move towards Qazigund in south Kashmir before crossing the Banihal tunnel everyday. “Only 200 trucks are allowed to cross the tunnel and the remaining are stranded at Qazigund. Scores of trucks are stranded since September 9,” said Fayaz Ahmad Malik, president of the Fruit Mandi, Sopore.

Stuck for days

Only 200 trucks are allowed to cross Banihal tunnel everyday. Scores of trucks have been stranded since September 9. Fayaz Ahmad Malik, Prez, Fruit Mandi, Sopore

Kashmir’s Rs 8,000-crore apple industry faced a major crisis after lockdown in the Valley for a few months in 2019 after the suspension of Article 370 and later due to Covid.

Apple trader Ghulam Hassan Rather of Baramulla questioned, “If traffic from Jammu can reach Srinagar normally, why are trucks from Kashmir stopped?” He urged the administration to allow smooth passage of trucks on the highway.

“The protest was held against deliberate stoppage of apple/pear-laden trucks on various spots of the Srinagar-Jammu highway for two to three days, resulting in damage to fruits,” read a statement issued by the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers’ Union. “We are worried about the late arrival of fruits to respective destinations within the country,” said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman of the union.

The protesters said trucks should be allowed to move from 11 am to 4 am. Earlier, trucks were stopped on the highway during the Shri Amarnath Yatra.

A delegation of fruit traders and officials, led by Horticulture Director, is on way to Qazigund to take stock of the situation and look into the reason behind the issue.

Major setback

  • The apple industry suffered back to back setbacks as the Valley saw shutdown for a few days after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 and then due to Covid.
  • During the Amarnath Yatra recently, time restrictions were imposed on the movement of trucks, rue traders.

#Baramulla #jammu #kashmir #Srinagar

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