Apple trucks stranded on NH-44 being cleared: Div Com

Fruit growers and traders staging protest at Parimpora Fruit Mandi on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Fruit growers and traders staging protest at Parimpora Fruit Mandi on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Mandis closed in protest against halting of trucks
Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Sept 26: Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole, today said that apple trucks stranded on Jammu-Srinagar National highway are being cleared at an earliest.
He said that the trucks are being cleared now and passenger vehicles could only be released from Jammu and Srinagar. “The congestion due to halted trucks has been cleared at the earliest,” he added.
He said that 3995 Apple trucks moved towards Jammu yesterday, only. “Almost 1500 trucks got stuck in between Ramban and Ramsoo as traffic could not move ahead of Ramban with flow because of intermittent shooting stones at Mehar causing regular stoppages,” he added.
Pole said that Chief Secretary had taken a review meeting which was attended by DGP and all officers of Traffic department.
“At present around 4000 trucks loaded with fresh, perishable, petroleum products and other requirements of the Valley are stranded in the Jammu region,” he stated.
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He said that the capacity of NH-44 for one way heavy motor vehicle movement is just about 3000 to 3500 if there is no disruption in traffic due to landslides, shooting stones and breakdown of loaded trucks. “Anything above the capacity disturbs the whole cycle of up and down release of traffic and this may result in piling up of traffic on NH,” he added.
He that there are difficulties in the movement of the traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to shooting stones triggered by rains.
“We have difficulties in the movement of traffic on the highway due to rains and resultant shooting stones but it is beyond human control. I appeal to them to use alternate Mughal road to lessen the burden on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway,” he said.
He added that the claim made by certain fruit growers unions on the halting of fruit trucks is half truth and natural reasons are hindering traffic.
Pole said in September, 46, 000 goods laden trucks including 29000 apple trucks have been sent out of Kashmir.
He said administration is doing all efforts and appealed that Mughal road be used, at least for empty vehicles.
The Divisional Commissioner said that normally apple production in Kashmir is 17 lakh metric ton but this year had a bumper crop. “This year due to abundant rainfall, there has been a bumper crop and it will cross 21 lakh metric ton,” he added.
In South Kashmir, thousands of trucks are lined up on the highway awaiting crossing. Some of the truckers have been here on the highway for last six days.
A trucker from Punjab, Mohinder Singh, has been here in Qazigund for last six days. “I came here on September 21 and since then I am waiting. We urge Government that we should be allowed to move on the highway otherwise apple will rot in the trucks,” he said.
Another trucker, Aijaz Ahmad, who loaded apple from Baramulla is waiting on the highway in Anantnag area for last four days. “If I continue to remain here for a couple of more days, the apple would rot. I appeal Government that we should be allowed to move ahead on the highway”, he said.
In the meantime, all 10 fruit Mandis in the Kashmir which include Srinagar, Sopore, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Pachhar, Anantnag, Handwara, Baramulla and Ganderbal remained closed for second day today in protest against halting of trucks on the highway.
Kashmir valley Fruit Growers and Dealers Association (KVFG&DA) protested against the halting of trucks. They also burnt apple boxes in Parimpora fruit market in Srinagar. They also held protests in Partap Park area of city centre.
Bashir Ahmed, president KVFG&DA told Excelsior that the trucks are being stopped unnecessarily causing huge losses.
“The trucks are being halted for days together making fruit to rot and lose their sale contracts in the Mandis. On Saturday we travelled on the highway and saw 8000 trucks stranded. Some were there for 7-8 days,” he said.
He said that Traffic department is not following the traffic advisory which is causing the traffic jams and damage to the fruit. “Some trucks were cleared yesterday but more have arrived there keeping the number of halted trucks same as it was two days ago,” he said.