SRINAGAR: Apni Party spokesman and former legislator Javid Hassan Baig on Tuesday solicited the intervention of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to facilitate a hassle-free movement of fruit and vegetable-laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway so as to prevent further losses to the horticulture sector in Kashmir.
In a statement issued here, Baig said that since the fruit industry in Kashmir has already suffered huge losses since August last year’s political upheaval coupled with the prevailing pandemic, the J&K’s law enforcement agencies must now stop inflicting more miseries on the traders associated with this vital sector of the economy.
“The fruit industry in Kashmir is already severely sick. Frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway, law and order situation, COVID-19 pandemic and now the new suffering of enforced halts of fruit-laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu highway reflect nefarious designs of some vested interests to shatter Kashmir’s already ailing economy,” Baig observed.
He said the protests staged by the traders of Asia’s largest fruit mandi Sopore corroborates the facts that the fruits industry is being unnecessarily harassed by the law enforcement agencies in J&K rather than facilitating it in achieving the new scales.
“The Lt Government must order a high-level inquiry into the complaints of fruit traders and the people associated with this industry particularly the fruit and vegetable-laden truck drivers who are being compelled to halt on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway without any rhyme or reason,” he urged the government. Similarly, he said that fresh fruit and vegetables arriving from Jammu and other parts of the country are also being reportedly stopped at Udhampur for days together.
Baig said that fruit traders in Kashmir have already faced losses of over Rs 13,000 crores after the abrogation of Article 370 last year and due to unnecessary stoppage of fruit-laden trucks by police at several places along Srinagar-Jammu highway.
“Since the fruit and vegetables are perishable items and have a small shelf life. The government must intervene and ensure hassle-free movement of fruits and vegetables from Kashmir valley to other parts of the country for their timely sale,” he demanded.
Apni Party spokesman said that despite the horticulture industry providing employment to over six lakh families, this sector is unfortunately not being given any importance by the government. Expressing solidarity with the fruit growers of Kashmir, the Apni Party spokesman urged the personal intervention of the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha for redressal of their grievances.