Hike in freight concerns Valley fruit growers
From Rs 25/case for Delhi, growers shell out Rs 65/case
UMER MAQBOOL DAR
Sopur, Oct 9: The steep hike in freight has left the Valley fruit growers fretting and fuming. The growers and traders exporting the fruit accused the government of failing to keep the freight under control.
The fruit growers told Greater Kashmir that they were facing acute problems on two counts: Shortage of trucks, and increase in the freight.
They said the shortage of trucks has led to the increase in the freight. “For past few weeks the truck drivers are charging us heavily for ferrying the fruit outside taking undue advantage of the shortage of trucks.”
“Earlier we would pay Rs 20 to Rs 25 per case for Delhi. But now they are charging a steep Rs 65/case,” said Nazir Ahmed Lone a grower.
“They (the truck operators) are taking undue advantage of our position. They know we cannot afford to retain the fruit due to its short shelf life, and we don’t have any other mode of transportation available,” he added.
According to growers the shortage of trucks in the Valley this time was because the trucks from other states “are not coming here as they are getting lucrative sums for ferrying potatoes in Haryana and Punjab.”
“Bulk of our apples is transported through trucks of Punjab and Haryana. Since they have not come this time, the freight has been increased by the local truck operators,” said Fayaz Ahmed Malik, president Sopur Fruit Association.
The growers accused state government of failing to come to their rescue. “It is astonishing that the government has failed to respond to the situation. There is no comprehensive and well framed transport policy in place which could help relieve us of the problem,” they said, adding that in absence of it, “we have become victim of monopoly by some trucker operators.”
Some growers complained that increasing the freight arbitrarily at peak season every year had become a phenomenon.
“Every year such crisis occur in October, November and December. It is an irony that government has every time failed to ensure a good number of vehicles for ferrying apples to other states,” said Khazir Muhammed, a grower from apple town Sopur.
To tackle the crisis this time, the growers have demanded that trucks from other states and even from Jammu should be diverted to Valley.
“Government should take up this matter with other states and keep transport available as per our needs if they are sincere in boosting horticulture industry otherwise we have no alternative than to take to streets,” they further added.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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