Srinagar, Nov 9: Barely three weeks after its start, the Valley fruit growers as a mark of protest have decided not to send the Tuesday's consignment across the Line of Control citing government indifference and lack of communication and banking facilities between the two sides.
The growers said they won't send their fourth consignment on Tuesday as the government failed to "facilitate" the trade. "On Tuesday we had to export 3000 boxes of fruit in 30 trucks to Muzaffarabad, but we have decided to suspend the trade till the government fulfills our demands," said Haji Farooq Ahmad Malik, president of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Buyer's Association.
"Since the trade began on October 21, we have sent more than 7000 fruit boxes worth Rs 35 lakh to Muzaffarbad, but due to lack of communication, we don't know what happened to that fruit. We don't know if it has been sold at all. We haven't received a single penny for our fruit," Malik said, adding the communication problem would spoil the entire cross LoC trade.
Malik said they won't be resuming the trade till the government allowed a delegation of fruit growers and buyers to visit AJK. "It is essential that the delegation from Valley visits Muzaffarbad to understand the market on the other side and see whom they are trading with. Besides, the government must restore telephone links between the two sides. Till that happens, we have suspended the trade," he said, adding the government was "talking more and doing less" to facilitate smooth trade between the two regions.
The fruit growers said presently they were having the internet facility as only mode to communicate with the traders across the LoC. "But the internet is not available to everyone. Unless you have telephone link, you cannot expect a smooth trade," he said.
President, All Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association, Ghulam Mustafa, said: "The government had assured us that a branch of J&K Bank would come up near the Kaman Post to facilitate the trade, but so far nothing has been done by it in this regard."