Officials say stocks can last for 10-15 days
Srinagar, Jan 14: The closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has led to the prices of commodities and airfare shooting up in Kashmir.
According to the details available with Precious Kashmir the news about highway closure for 5 to 10 days has led to hoarders creating “artificial scarcity” of many essential items in the market.
It’s not for the first time that the highway closure has led to the skyrocketing of the prices of commodities and airfares. It happens every year.
“We cannot even bargain with the shopkeepers and the vendors. We get a befitting reply if you want to buy on this rate, buy otherwise leave it. Same is the case with air tickets. The air carriers have fixed the rates as per their whims and wishes,” said Fayaz Ahmed of Baghat Barzulla.
He said, “People are facing a very difficult situation as the demand of items has increased and supply is less. People who want to move out of the Valley for one or other purpose have to pay the exorbitant airfare. On the other hand people have to pay through their nose for the essential commodities as the life cannot run without these items.”
According to the dealers and distributors the extended closure of the highway has depleted the stock of vegetables and fruits in the Valley for which the highway. “Parimpora Mandi is empty now. There is no stock of perishable items in this whole sale market. Whatever surplus like onions and potatoes we had after the snowfall has almost finished,” said a trader.
It’s in place to mention here that on the evening of January 10, just two days after the highway was opened following the heavy snowfall across J&K, a retaining wall of the bridge at Kela Morh in Ramban collapsed leading to another highway closure. “One fails to understand that why do stocks of non-perishable items also disappear just within few days of the highway getting blocked,” asked Mushtaq Ahmed of Nowgam.
A top official of the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Kashmir said that the Valley has enough stock of food grains to last for two months, gas for 15 days, petrol and diesel for 8-10 days. He advised people to opt for dry vegetables if the stocks deplete further.
According to the officials over 8,500 vehicles including empty and fruit laden trucks are stranded on the Kashmir side of the highway. “Most of these drivers are spending their nights in their vehicles. These vehicles cannot move till the Ramban bridge is restored or Bailey bridge becomes functional,” the official added.
An official of a private airline company said that airfares cannot change till the demand for the tickets declines. “We are helpless the decisions about the fares are taken by the higher ups. We have no role to play in it,” he added.