Apni Party on Tuesday sought intervention of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to facilitate hassle-free movement of fruit and vegetable laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway to prevent further losses to the horticulture sector in Kashmir.
In a statement, the party spokesman Javid Hassan Baig said since the fruit industry in Kashmir has already suffered huge losses since August last year’s political upheaval coupled with the prevailing pandemic, the “J&K’s law enforcement agencies must now stop inflicting more miseries on the traders associated with this vital sector of economy.”
“The fruit industry in Kashmir is already severely sick. Frequent closure of the highway, law and order situation, COVID19 pandemic and now the new suffering of enforced halts of fruit-laden trucks on the highway reflect nefarious designs of some vested interests to shatter Kashmir’s already ailing economy,” Baig said.
He said the protests staged by the traders at Asia’s largest fruit mandi Sopore corroborates the facts that the fruits industry was being unnecessarily harassed by the law enforcement agencies in J&K rather than facilitating it in achieving the new scales.
“The Lt Governor must order a high level inquiry into the complaints of fruit traders and people associated with this industry particularly the fruit and vegetable truck drivers who are being compelled to halt on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway without any rhyme or reason,” he said.
Similarly, he said fresh fruit and vegetables arriving from Jammu and other parts of the country were also being reportedly stopped at Udhampur for days together.
Baig said fruit traders in Kashmir have already faced losses of over Rs 13,000 crore after abrogation of Article 370 last year and due to unnecessary stoppage of fruit-laden trucks by police at several places along Srinagar-Jammu highway.
“Since the fruit and vegetables are perishable items and have small shelf life, the government must intervene and ensure hassle free movement of fruits and vegetables from Kashmir to other parts of the country for their timely sale,” he demanded. He said despite horticulture industry providing employment to over six lakh families, the sector was unfortunately not being given any importance by the government.