Public facing shortage of essentials amid police harassment
JAMMU, Mar 28: Contrary to the claims of J&K UT administration of ensuring supplies at the doorsteps of people and avalability of enough storage of food grains and other items, the general public across 10 districts of Jammu region is facing shortage of essential commodities amidst alleged harassment from police, while with Jammu Ware House Wholesale Market, hardly seven days’ stocks are available.
The Jammu wholesale traders who make supplies, not only in all the ten districts of Jammu division but also in parts of Kashmir, revealed that a large number of their trucks coming with grocery items and other essential supplies from Delhi, Rajasthan and Harayana etc have been stopped by the authorities in Punjab. While some truckers are said to have been detained in Ludhiana and Jallandhar area, many others are said to have been stopped at Haryana -Punjab border near Rajpura by Punjab police in view of curfew imposed by Amarinder Government in Punjab.
With this, 50 % reduction in the supplies has been witnessed across the region while many grocery shops in the city lanes and bylanes in Jammu have turned empty.This is not the case only in Jammu city, but also in other major towns across the region.
Excelsior received numerous calls from various parts of the region including Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Kathua, Kishtwar, Akhnoor, R S Pura , Nowshera, Mandi, Mendhar, Billawar, Ramnagar etc. regarding shortage of supplies. The general public and traders alleged harassment by police, and said that even they are not being allowed to fetch grocery, food and vegetable items by police.
Many city traders, whose shops have nearly turned empty, alleged that without passes they are not being allowed to go for lifting items of daily use from Ware House. Load carrier operators are not prepared to fetch items alleging harassment and beating up by cops on the roads on the plea of passes. They are not being supplied passes by District Administration and with this, the supply system is nearing collapse even after four days of national lockdown.There is total chaos and confusion and the process of delivering food grains at the door steps of the consumers by the CAPD authorities has not yet commenced even in Jammu city due to non-availablity of vehicles and man power under such cirsumtances.
A senior citizen, Balwant Singh from Adrash Vihar in Jammu said while one grocery shop in their locality has been closed as it has turned empty and other one has only few items available there. The public of the area is facing difficulty. The milk and vegetable are also not available.
One Kuldip Gupta from Trikuta Nagar said after strictness by district administration two days ago, the movement of people has been stopped. No body is allowed to purchase even vegetables, grocery and medicines. The cops ask for passes and people have no access to reach DC to get the same. On one hand, top officials say there is no binding to purchase grocery / vegetables or medicines, but on the other hand, police do not allow any body to move out. There is total chaos and confusion, he added. Similar, were the views of some people from Bakshi Nagar, Janipur Colony, Pir Mitha, Talab Tillo, Subhash Nagar, Rehari and Rooop Nagar area of Jammu city.
In Rajouri and Poonch also, many people alleged harassment by police. They alleged shortage of vegetables, fruits, foodgrains, milk and grocery items. There is severe shortage of food grains in Kandi-Budhal, Samote, Khawas, Darhal, Kalakote and Nowshera area. The people alleged that dealers have refused to give two months ration claiming that they do not have the supplies and no such order has been received by them so far by concerned TSOs. The reports of unnecessary harassment by cops and shortage of grocery items/ vegetables etc have also been received from Rajouri and various other towns in the region, exposing Government claims of home delivery and sufficient supplies.
Jammu Ware House Whole Sale Traders Association, general secretary Deepak Gupta when contacted said that supply chain of essesntial items to Jammu whole sale market has been badly affected due to lock- down. He said over 50 % reduction has been witnessed in the supplies in various districts and towns of Jammu region besides parts of Kashmir. He said they send trucks loaded with goods to Kashmir also. But with the lock down and under current prevailing situation, they fear break down in the supply chain in coming days.
Replying to a question, Gupta said Jammu Ware House Market has supplies hardly for next seven days. Their scores of trucks loaded with essentials have been stopped in Punjab and Harayana-Punjab border for the last few days. The police is not allowing the truckers to move towards J&K, he added.
” The Association has taken up the issue with the Deputy Commissioner Jammu and also with the Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma for the release of these vehicles. Moreover, retail shop owners are not being allowed to reach the wholesale market by police in the absence of passes. Due to this problem, the public has been suffering. The drivers of load carriers are not prepared to face the thrashing by cops and refuse to lift supplies. The Administration must stereamline the system and remove chaos and confusion,” Gupta maintained.
Neeraj Anand, president Federation of Traders Assocaitions said this problem has been created due to lack of coordination between various agencies and Administration and other stakeholders/ associations. He said due to non-availability of passes with the vegetable/ fruit/ milk veders and even the grocery item dealers, they failed to carry out their operations. Moreover, two days ago many trucks carrying vegetables from Punjab were stopped at Lakhanpur and they were released in the afternoon. So, the supplies could not be lifted on the same day and next day many vegetables perished. Due to harassment to the truckers, they are refusing to come here. With this, the supplies have been affected. This has made the public to suffer not only in Jammu but at various other places. There is need to streamline the system, Anand said.
Giving example, he said Ware House Association applied for 120 passes but they were provided just 22 and same is the position in other sectors as well. There is need of better coordination and involvement of the stake holders so that sufferings of the public are minimized. He also demanded that J&K administration must talk to Punjab authorities to release detained trucks loaded with essentials. Moreover, Government can also ensure supplies through goods trains, he opined.
Over 300 trucks arriving J&K every day: Govt
The Government has said that nearly 300 trucks with essential supplies are arriving J&K on daily basis while the trucks detained in Punjab have been released.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma when contacted this evening told the Excelsior that he has spoken to the IG Traffic in Punjab and they have released the trucks towards J&K.
Verma further said that as per directions from the Union Government, there are no restrictions on the movement of vehicles carrying essential commodities on the highways. Moreover, the supply chain to J&K will remain smooth in coming days as well, he added.
The Divisional Commissioner admitted that there has been some reduction in the movement of trucks due to country-wide lockdown, but maintained that over 300 trucks loaded with essential supplies from various parts of the country are reaching J&K every day.