While the supply of sacrificial animals and other goods for upcoming Eid-ul-Adha next month has already begun, the decision of administration to allow the movement of goods carriers through Mughal Road is proving to be a dampener for the forthcoming festive season.
Many traders told Greater Kashmir that transportation of goods through difficult terrain of Mughal Road will be both time consuming and also loss-making adding that it will shoot-up prices. Traders have blamed administration for not providing “first preference” to perishables such as livestock and vegetables to move between Jammu and Srinagar.
Mehraj-ud-din Ganai, general secretary, All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association told Greater Kashmir that in the run-up to Eid, atleast 100-150 truckloads of sacrificial animals are expected to reach the Valley daily during next two weeks. Ganai said mutton already being sold at Rs 500 will become costlier due to the added transportation cost through the Mughal Road.
“We are expecting a truckload of sheep to become costlier by at least Rs 7000 to Rs 9000. Moreover, the longer Mughal Road route will make animals more vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Most of the traders pass on the burden of losses on the end customer which will have an impact on sacrificial animals cost,” Ganai said.
Sacrificial animal market last year too had witnessed high rates proving to be a burden on common people.
Ganai said the decision to allow goods carriers such as trucks and oil tankers to move through Mughal Road will coincide with the commencement of peak season of supplies of fresh fruit from the Valley next month.
“Look at the sort of facilities available on the Mughal Road for truckers. It is also a lengthy route which makes journey for the livestock tougher. Both truck drivers and livestock will suffer on this route which mostly witnesses inclement weather. Also this route gets closed for traffic movement every now and then,” Ganai said.
Basheer Ahmad Bashir, president, All Kashmir Fruits Growers cum Dealers Union says the trailer that carry goods are usually more than 8-tyre heavy vehicles which will find it difficult to ferry goods from the Mughal Road. “At the maximum this route is meant for 6 –tyre trailers. Anything more than this will find it difficult to move on this route,” Bashir said.
Basheer said regulation of traffic on the Mughal Road is not smooth like conventional Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
“The less presence of traffic policemen will also make a difference. We have already suffered huge losses due to frequent closure of the national highway and other restrictions. Truckloads of perishables and fresh-fruit must be given the first priority to move on the vital road link between Jammu and Srinagar,” said Bashir.
When contacted, Director, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Muhammad Qasim Wani said the decision to allow movement of truckloads of goods through the Mughal Road was taken after “well-thought planning”. Wani said the alternate route will ensure smooth delivery of goods to the Valley.
“The duration for trucks being stranded on the Mughal Road incase of inclement weather is much lesser than the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. We are hopeful that since waiting time is less, perishables will not get damaged,” said Wani. “Our checking squads will be soon visiting the markets to ensure that no overpricing of sacrificial animals takes place,” Wani said.