Apple truckloads rot on highway; J&K cultivators go on striketext_fields
Srinagar: After many trucks were denied passage Srinagar-Jammu National highway, thousands of tons of apples loaded in them are rotting. Trucks from Rajasthan, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir are stranded there and have no idea what is stopping them from moving, NDTV reported.
In the 40km stretch from Mirbazar in Anantnag to the Banihal tunnel, a long line of trucks has been waiting to leave for days now. Truckers allege that they are not allowed to move even though the passage is open for other travellers.
According to a J&K Traffic Police statement, the Inspector General of traffic assured apple growers a passage of apple loads on Saturday. But NDTV testifies that it has witnessed loads of apples rotting on the road.
An Uttar Pradesh-bound truck driver, Vikramjit Singh, said that his load of 20 tonnes of apples had been held on the highway for a week. He used to take two days to reach his destination, but at the moment, he is not sure whether he can unload his load with the required quality.
NDTV reports that apple growers have started protests in Srinagar as well as certain other parts of Kashmir, alleging that the blocking in the highway is an attack on their livelihood. They also shut markets in the region as part of their protests.
Rural Kashmir is mostly dependent on apple cultivation, and the disruptions in moving the yield to markets outside J&K would heavily impact the cultivator's livelihood.
Kashmir contributes more than 70 per cent to the country's apple production. Cultivators say that obstacles in transportation shot up freight charges by over 100 per cent.
According to former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, blocking apple loads on the highway is a deliberate attempt to make Kashmir people suffer, NDTV reported.
So far, the real cause behind the blockage has not been clarified by the authorities.