Sopore, Dec 31: Scores of fruit traders at Asia's second-largest fruit mandi here in the apple town Sopore Friday staged a protest to seek a ban on the “illegal sale” of Iranian apples in Indian markets.
Raising slogans, the fruit traders protested saying that the fruit market had suffered badly since last month as Iranian apples were “illegally” and freely sold in Indian markets.
President Fruit Buyers Union Sopore, Mudasir Ahmad Bhat expressed dismay over the “illegal” sale of Iranian apples in Indian markets, affecting Kashmir’s fruit market.
Bhat said, “Our fruit market has suffered for the past month due to illegal sale of Iranian apples that come through Wagah border in the name of Afghanistan.”
He said that Iranian apples were being sold without tax at Rs 40 per kg which Indian buyers were buying instead of the Kashmiri apples that cost around Rs 60 per kg.
“This has affected our market and our apples are being sold at a very less price because of the illegal sale of Iranian apples,” Bhat said.
He said that they had requested the government many times but nothing had been done regarding the issue.
“We once again request the government to save this industry of Kashmir,” Bhat said.
Another fruit trader Firdous Ahmad Dar said that the apple industry was already suffering for the past few years due to the uncertain situation in Kashmir and COVID-19.
“The illegal sale of Iranian apples will be disastrous to the fruit industry of Kashmir,” he said.
Dar said that the Kashmiri grower, sellers, and buyers lost at least Rs 2 lakh per truck fruit exported to different states in India.