South Kashmir Mandis shut against halting of apple trucks

All the six fruit mandis in four south Kashmir districts – Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, and Anantnag - remained closed for the second straight day.
All the six fruit mandis in four south Kashmir districts – Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, and Anantnag - remained closed for the second straight day.Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Shopian: The fruit mandis across south Kashmir remained shut for the second straight day Monday as part of the two-day strike against the halting of apple trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

The apple cultivators and traders have been complaining about the frequent halting of fruit trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway since the beginning of the harvest season.

According to them, the fruit with low shelf life turns bad due to protracted disruptions in the seamless movement of trucks.

All the six fruit mandis in four south Kashmir districts – Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, and Anantnag - remained closed for the second straight day.

President of Fruit Mandi Shopian, Muhammad Ameen Peer told Greater Kashmir that the fruit growers could not afford to remain silent over the issue as it was the question of the livelihood of around 70 percent population.

“The halting of apple trucks has incurred heavy losses to both the apple growers and the traders,” he said.

However, Peer said that they had been assured by the senior police official to facilitate the free movement of fruit trucks along the national highway.

Peer Shabir, a prominent trader and apple grower from the area, said that the apple industry had been caught in the throes of crisis over the past 4 years due to unavoidable conditions like COVID-induced lockdowns and bad weather conditions.

“This time it seems a deliberate attempt to impoverish the struggling grower,” he said.

Fruit growers and traders from Anantnag and Kulgam mandis also said that they closed down the facilities to protest against the halting of fruit trucks.

A non-local trucker at Qazigund told Greater Kashmir that he was stuck there for the past seven days.

“The traders at the outside mandis even deny the freight charges as we show up beyond the expected time,” he said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, President of Fruit Mandi Pulwama Javed Ahmad Bhat said that the mandi resumed its normal work from 5 pm.

However, a procession of trucks started moving towards their destination late in the afternoon.

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