'Re-open Mughal Road for transporting cherry'

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Tuesday demanded re-opening of Mughal Road for transportation of cherry to other parts of the country.

In a statement senior leader Zaffar Iqbal Manhas said the cherry fruit worth thousands of crores of rupees will perish if the Road was not opened immediately.

“The spread of COVID19 pandemic should not be made an excuse to conceal lack of will to work on the ground,” Manhas said and added the lockdown across the country has been eased up and almost all other state governments have already allowed inter and intra state transportation of fruit and other agricultural produce amid the prevailing circumstances.

Stressing for allowing to and fro movement of fruit trucks from Kashmir to other parts of the country through Mughal Road, the JKAP leader said a hassle-free movement of fruit laden trucks via the historic road will safeguard economic interests of the fruit industry in J&K.

“Fruit growers who had stored their apple crops in cold storages last year and cherry growers are craving for reopening of the road to ferry their produce to Jammu and other parts of the country. Since the dilapidated Srinagar-Jammu highway is through only for vehicles carrying essential, the government should immediately re-open the Mughal Road for transportation of fruit especially cherry produce as an alternative to the highway,” he said.

The JKAP leader also urged the J&K government to ensure affordable transportation of the fruit to the other parts of the country. Manhas said the government should arrange truck fleets on reasonable rates for farmers especially cherry growers to supply their produce to markets across the country.

“The exorbitant freight charges and excessive commission from the fruit traders and transporters from outside the state is against the interests of farmers and orchardists of Kashmir. The government under the Lieutenant Governor should take notice of this issue on priority,” Manhas said.

He urged the government especially the department of horticulture and the associated institutions to pay adequate attention to the problems faced by the fruit growers especially dealing with the cherry production. “This industry in J&K generates livelihood for thousands of unemployed youth and the government should provide requisite facilities to the people associated with this important sector accordingly,” Manhas said.