Business badly affected due to restrictions on highway, say traders

Mainstream parties aghast, urge Govt to revoke decision

Srinagar, Jul 3: Following the recent losses due to the frequent hailstorm across the Valley, the fruit business in Kashmir has yet again got affected due to the restrictions imposed by the government on civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway from Qazigund-Nashri for five hours in a day.
The decision by the government has been taken in view of the ongoing 46-day-long Amarnath Yarta that commenced on Monday.
The fruit growers and dealers of the Valley said that the restrictions on highway for five hours regularly was disastrous for Horticulture Industry
The dealers and growers, under the banner of New Kashmir Fruit Association Fruit Marketing Complex Parimpora Srinagar said that they are extremely worried on banning of civil traffic on Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
The association said that they have already suffered losses due to natural disaster with frequent hailstorm, stormy winds and strong rains since last three months followed by constant closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway due to one or the other reasons.
“We have suffered about 90% losses of their produce and the situation thereof has repeatedly been brought to the notice of all concerned authorities of the Governor’s Administration, even the Fruit Mandi Parimpora which Mandi is treated one of the largest Mandi after Delhi and remains functional round the year had been closed in protest for two days,” they said.
“Now at the time of harvesting the fresh Fruit crop whatever is saved particularly cherry and Plum is on risk which crop is treated most perishable items and needs to be transported to its destination outside state on war footing basis in view of banning once again civil traffic for five hours daily in a day on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in view of annual Amarnath Yatra,” they added.
Meanwhile, the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir also expressed resentment against the restrictions on civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway and suspension of train services, asking the Governor led administration here to revoke the decision at an earliest.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir expressed concern over the decision, saying that the Govt should withdraw the order of suspension of vehicle traffic and train service forthwith to ensure that people as well as other tourists were not put hardships due to its decision.
Mir further said that people of Jammu and Kashmir have always been enthusiastic to extend every help to people coming from across the country to perform yearly Amarnath Yatra, besides they whole-heartedly welcome the Yatris and they will continue to remain important part of it (Yatra), Mir said.
National Conference (NC) General Secretary, Ali Muhammad Sagar decried the restrictions on civilian traffic on Qazigund-Nashri stretch, saying the measure is regressive and will put the people to undue duress.
“The incumbent administration is known for coming up with such unconsidered decisions. The move will inadvertently hit the movement of civilian traffic on the Jammu –Srinagar highway,” he said.
He said that the sole highway connecting Srinagar with the rest of country already suffers from intermittent blockages due to the vagaries of weather. “The other day the civilian traffic on the stretch was curbed for 5 hours. The dictate of putting retractions on the vehicular movement if persists will put the public to undue duress,” he said.
Peoples Conference also slammed the state government for taking such a decision. “The decision to impose restrictions upon the movement of civilian traffic on the 97-km stretch from Qazigund to Nashri and suspend train services between Qazigund to Banihal is unprecedented and unjustified. While the safety and security of Yatris is paramount, it cannot be at the cost of making the lives of people miserable”, PC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement.
Adnan said that this is the first instance of an administration restricting civilian traffic along the highway to facilitate smooth movement of Yatra convoys.
“The ban will affect movement of fruit and vegetables trucks during Yatra movements which will disrupt the horticulture industry. The government must allow transportation of fruit trucks and other perishable items failing which the growers and dealers may face heavy losses,” he added. (KNS)