The continued closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway has inflicted losses worth crores of rupees on fruit growers across Kashmir. People associated with the fruit industry say more than 2000 fruit-laden trucks are stranded along the highway, which continues to remain closed for the past six days.
The fruits including a top varieties of apple called 'Delicious', are about to perish, they said.
"It is usually during this time of the year that Delicious apple is transported to other states from Kashmir. Once truckloads of fruit remain stranded on the highway, it obviously means a serious blow to the fruit industry," said Fayaz Ahmad, president, fruit growers and dealers association, Sopore.
Several stranded drivers carrying fruits in their vehicles said their consignments are about to perish.
Irshad Ahmad, a truck driver who left Sopore with his fruit-laden truck on January 19, said he is stranded on the road for the past several weeks.
He said the fruit has perished and it will be a loss of no less than Rs seven lakh. "I am waiting to reach some safer destination. The fruit has decayed and now I am waiting to return home," he said.
The apple industry is already passing through a rough patch due to hostile weather in Kashmir, according to fruit growers.
Many fruit growers say a huge number of apple trees have suffered damage due to the heavy snowfall. "The recent snowfall too has proved disastrous for the industry. Though there has been no complete review of the losses suffered by the fruit growers, the loss is massive and worth crores of rupees," Fayaz said.