It is good that the government at the highest level again intervened to ensure smooth passage of apple laden trucks from Kashmir to outside markets. The apple growers and traders heaved a sigh of relief this time.
Earlier, they were unhappy following reports that the trucks are allegedly being stopped for days together on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
This was happening as the apple harvesting season has just begun and is about to gain momentum in comings weeks.
This had also happened in the middle of this year when harvesting and transportation of other fruits was in progress and the government at the top level had to intervene at that time also.
Last year a similar situation had risen. In fact this problem persists for last few years. In past there was no such problem and the fruits from Kashmir would reach markets outside well in time without disruptions in transportation.
All the stake holders must now sit together and find a permanent solution to stop the reoccurrence of the problem. The planning and strategies must be devised well in advance so that the trucks are not unnecessarily stopped and the growers and traders not put to trouble.
Apple production and trade is considered as the backbone of Kashmir’s economy. Official figures reveal that 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 the associated business. The production and business of some other fruits also provide a helping hand to Kashmir’s economy.
Kashmir has seen worst days in past as far as economy is concerned. The people particularly the traders have suffered huge losses due to the situation or later because of the COVID related problems.
So, efforts should be made to strengthen the economy. If there are some gaps in communication and understanding among the stakeholders, and which lead to poor coordination, these gaps have to be bridged.
And that too well in advance; before the harvesting of the fruits begins in Kashmir. It should not happen again and again that the fruit growers and traders first allege stopping of fruit trucks for days together on highway and then government at the highest level intervenes and problem gets resolved.
The system and mechanism should be developed in such a way that there is no need for fruit growers to demand smooth passage of trucks. This should happen on its own and it must become a permanent practice.