Apple export: tunnel to remain open 24×7

SRINAGAR: The government has directed for making Jawahar tunnel operational round the clock during fruit season to ensure smooth, safe and timely transportation of horticulture industry produce to outside the State. Basharat Bukhari presided over a meeting to review measures being undertaken to ensure the hassle-free movement of fruit carrying trucks on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

Terming farmer heart and trader mind of horticulture industry, the Minister said that the Government has undertaken a holistic programme for ensuring equitable and sustainable development of horticulture sector of the State. He said that trucks carrying fruit should be given priority during the season while travelling on Jammu-Srinagar Highway so that trader, as well as grower, can fetch good returns. He directed the concerned for checking and maintaining genuine freight during the fruit season.

Bukhari directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for making special arrangements of trucks for timely transportation of horticulture produce during the fruit season. The Divisional Commissioner assured the Minister that all necessary steps will be taken to avoid inconveniences faced by the traders and required fleet will be made available as per the demand of mandies.

The Minister was informed that steps are being taken to ensure Jawahar tunnel is made operational 24×7. He was told that J&K Police will paste a special security check sticker on fruit carrying trucks which will be valid for a limited period.

It was said that Horticulture Department in collaboration with J&K Bank will also paste a special fluorescent sticker on fruit carrying trucks for their easy identification and hassle-free movement on the National Highway.

During the meeting, various trade associations informed the Minister that trucks are not being allowed by the Police to move before 8 pm. The Minister directed the IGP to look into the matter, besides take up the issue of frequent traffic snarls at Azadpur Mandi, Delhi with concerned quarters.

Bukhari directed the CRPF and Beacon officials to take innovative measures for making Jawahar tunnel operational round the clock during the fruit season, besides submit a detailed report regarding critical spots on the Highway.

The Minister directed the Divisional Commissioner Jammu to appoint an officer who will remain in touch with Horticulture P&M Department to avoid communication gaps. He also directed DIG to appoint nodal officers who will remain in touch with the Department to ensure hassle-free movement of fruit carrying trucks via Mughal Road and Lakhanpur entry point.

Meanwhile an interactive meeting of expert committee members constituted for drafting/formulation of Horticulture Policy for Jammu and Kashmir State and stakeholders including fruit growers, nursery owners, processers, traders, Controlled Atmosphere (CA) store owners and others was held under the chairmanship of Secretary Horticulture, Manzoor Ahmad Lone, here today.

Various issues of concern were raised in the interaction by stakeholders which were urged to form the part of the policy with a view to ensure that the interests of the ultimate stakeholders are secure and safe in times to come.

Issues of significance including increase of production in apple crop through introduction of high Density Plants, diversification of fruit cultivation, strengthening of irrigation aspect in orchards, concerns of processing/value addition of fruits etc were discussed at length and it was felt that action programme should be initiated by all stakeholders to materialise dividends at a very short notice.

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