Apple harvesting season approaching

Need for a plan in advance to resolve transportation related problems
The traders say that they suffer losses as the trucks get stuck on the highway for days together and do not reach the markets on time, and the perishable fruit starts rotting. [Representational Image]
The traders say that they suffer losses as the trucks get stuck on the highway for days together and do not reach the markets on time, and the perishable fruit starts rotting. [Representational Image] File/ ANI

There is still some more time left for full scale apple harvesting, and subsequent transportation of the fruit to the markets outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Those associated with apple trade, and the concerned authorities must chalk out a plan well in advance to deal with the problems, which sometimes arise during its transportation.

According to official figures, over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple are produced at an average every year in Kashmir and a revenue of almost Rs 8,000 crore is generated annually in this sector.

Thirty lakh people are directly or indirectly associated with apple growing and its business. It has been seen that the disruption in the movement of apple-laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway sometimes due to road blockade, and other reasons, keep on giving sleepless nights to the fruit growers and traders.

They allege that preference is not given to the apple trucks whenever limited traffic is restored after road clearance. The traders say that they suffer losses as the trucks get stuck on the highway for days together and do not reach the markets on time, and the perishable fruit starts rotting.

Sometimes, on the request of apple traders, intervention at highest level of the government is made to ensure the passage of fruit trucks when their movement gets hampered.

During the initial days of Amarnath Yatra this year, clear cut directions were given by the government that trucks carrying fruit, vegetable and essentials must not be unnecessarily stopped on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

The directions were given after traders demanded that such trucks should not be needlessly halted. At that time it was the season of other fruits and not the apple.

Only a few years back when the condition of highway was bad at several places due to rough weather and landslides, limited traffic was permitted and the apple-laden trucks were not allowed to proceed towards their respective destinations.

The fruit businessmen alleged that the trucks got stuck for days together. They approached the authorities to resolve the issue. The authorities came to their rescue and facilitated the movement of trucks.

The traffic officials, on the other hand, say that heavy vehicles are sometimes not allowed to move due to bad road conditions and the possibility of jamming at that time.

They added that sometimes for security reasons and requirements, the movement of all kinds of civilian vehicles, including trucks, is halted for some duration.

Later, the movement is resumed. According to them the fruit trucks are not deliberately being stopped, but at times because of some unavoidable reasons the movement of vehicles is temporarily put to a halt.

The communication gap between the traders and concerned officials during such times creates chaos and confusion.

Both the sides need to fill this communication gap. Chalking out a plan well in advance can help in a big way in tackling the transportation related problems and in removing the misgivings.

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