As a mark of protest against the ‘indifferent attitude’ towards the continued denial to vegetable and fruit laden trucks on the Jammu-Kashmir highway, all businesses working under the Parimpora Fruit complex have closed down their gates on Monday and are on protest.
“We had decided that we will go for an indefinite shutdown from April 29 in case the government does not take any initiative to solve our problems. All the shops are closed and we will be meeting later in the day to chalk out our further plan,” said a businessman in the complex.
The traders are in protests against a “virtual halt” of fruit and vegetable-laden vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu highway for several days allegedly without any reason. “The losses are being inflicted deliberately otherwise why the highway gets perfect to use if a trucker pays the bribe. We are witnessing this problem from the last three months now. This is a deliberate blockade,” said Muhammad Umar, one of the protesting traders.
Pertinently heartbreaking videos were uploaded from the Parimpora Fruit complex since a past week when all of the stock reaching this complex was either sold out at minimal prices or thrown at dumping sites.
“This time a box of grapes would have cost not less than Rs 500 but when the stockist received his truck, he had to sell one box for Rs 80 or Rs 30 and there was no guarantee if any of the grapes would be in eatable condition. And it is the same with all fruits coming or going out of the Kashmir,” said Wasim Hassan, one of the consignment agents. “It is not only the trucks coming towards Kashmir are stopped but same is being done with the fruit-laden truck going out from Kashmir.”
The Parimpora Mandi traders under the banner of Kashmir Economic Alliance decided unanimously to go for the strike as they are suffering huge losses due to the indifferent attitude on the only highway connecting Kashmir with the mainland India.
Bashir Ahmad Bashir, the president of the traders’ association Parimpora fruit mandi, had earlier said that dealers who suffered losses due to frequent highway closure during this year’s winter are now forced to shut down businesses due to ‘mismanagement’ of traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. He also said that they have given written representation to the authorities as well.
The crisis has started before the holy month of Ramadhan when the valley consumes most of its fruits and mutton supplies. The prices of the fruits and the vegetables are already up in the market as the Valley receives minimum supplies this time. “Due to the LoC trade along Uri we are not receiving the fruits from that side as well,” said Wasim.
Many traders also said that they work with banks but due to the present crisis their viability has stopped. “We don’t have any capital to re-infuse in the business.”
The Parimpora Mandi comprises more than 300 shops and around 3000 people are directly associated with it for earning their livelihood. Earlier the fruit traders alleged same apathy during winters when the highway remained closed for most of the times. But the Mandi traders have a history of closing down indefinitely on rare occasion like 2008 like crisis only.