Relief in Kashmir as authorities restore freight transport

Hundreds of trucks carrying livestock and eatables, which had been halted by traffic authorities along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for the past one week, reached Valley markets, providing relief to the common people and traders.

The authorities allowed the movement of trucks towards Kashmir, a day after fruit, vegetable and mutton dealers threatened to suspend business if the movement of freight transport was not restored by 29 April. They have now called the strike off temporarily.

But Mehraj-ud-din Ganai, general secretary All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association said mutton dealers have called off the strike “for the time being”.

Ganai said 250 trucks laden with sheep reached various parts of the Valley on Thursday and much of the stock will go to weddings.

He said that since the trucks were stranded for a week, many sheep succumbed to inclement weather, causing Rs 6 crore in losses.

 “We will wait and watch the situation and hope the government allows movement of trucks on highway on priority basis.

If the forced stoppage of trucks happens again we will have to take extreme measures then,” Ganai said.

Restoration of essential services, especially mutton supplies to the Valley has come as a relief for hundreds of families that have weddings scheduled for the next 10 days till the beginning of Ramadan. Several families had modified wedding plans in the wake of mutton shortage.

President of Parimpora fruit mandi Bashir Ahmad Basheer said about 200 truckloads of vegetables and fruits reached Srinagar. He added that a lot of the perishables that reached the mandi on Thursday were rotten.

“We met the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir today. He assured us that supplies of essentials will be accorded priority. The authorities must realize the quantum of losses suffered by us,” Basheer said.

Director CAPD Muhammad Qasim Wani said shortage of mutton and other essentials would be overcome with the arrival of the goods trucks.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and working closely with other allied departments,” Wani said.