Ziraat Times News

Srinagar, April 4: Kashmir’s industry, commerce and trade chambers and associations are expressed their deep resentment on the government directive banning civilian movement on Baramulla-Udhampur highway, calling the decision “dictatorial” and its immediate rollback.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) held a press conference today, observing that the order does not augur well for a democratic set up and has been issued without considering its impact on the population of Kashmir and is indicative of the lack of awareness of local problems.

Demands for revocation

KCCI has called for the immediate revocation of the order and has sought time from the Governor for a meeting in this regard.

Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union while strongly condemning this decision of the government machinery has appealed for its immediate revocation so that “the people of Valley will feel a sigh of relief. “

KCCI, Fruit Growers Associations and Sopore Fruit Mandi react

“At a time when the Kashmir Chamber has been raising the issue of lack of alternative routes and means of travel to Kashmir, the closure of the only available road link would put the whole population to unimaginable inconvenience and will have disastrous consequences for our economy”, Sheikh Ashiq, KCCI president told reporters today.

The Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union, which is an umbrella Body of all Fruit Assoaciations of the Valley, said in a statement today that the valley’s fruit growers and dealers were extremely worried on the announcement of two days ban (Sunday and Wednesday) on civilian traffic on National Highway.

“Since the Fruit Growers /Dealers of the Valley have already suffered losses worth thousands of crores of rupees constantly over the last 3 years due to natural disasters, harsh winter and constant closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the ban now announced by the Government for two days on National Highway will add more losses to the Valley Based Fruit Growers/ Dealers and more burden to the general public in particular”, Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman of the Association, told Ziraat Times.

President Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association, Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad Malik alias Kakaji, while criticising the order, said that for the past about two years the one-way traffic has already resulted in shortage of essentials, particularly vegetables, petrol, diesel, LPG and meat and chicken in the valley and even had disastrous ramifications for the apple industry.

Sheikh Ashiq, President KCCI, while commenting on the situation, told reporters that “even without the formal banning of civilian movement, travelling on the highway is already a nightmare and only necessary and unavoidable traffic movement is being conducted. The banning will bring further chaos and confusion. It will also impede the movement of goods including essentials like sheep, poultry, etc and raise the transportation costs. Air fares would also escalate.”

“Numerous elections have been held in the State and at no point of time have we witnessed creation of such paranoia and panic. It is unprecedented and alienating. The State needs to deal with the situation without encroaching on the rights of the public”, he further said.

“The order will also negatively impact the inflow of tourists to our State and interfere with the booking schedules and plans of tourists. We are not aware of such a restriction of any tourist destination in the world. At a time when the Government and tourism players are making efforts to revive the tourism sector, these actions would not be well taken”, KCCI has said.

Mr Ashiq further said that the order also disrupts the smooth movement of fruit laden trucks from Srinagar for which April and May are critical months. The Horticulture Sector will also suffer due to the impact on movement of fruits and vegetables.

Concerns over fruit transportation and spraying schedules

Fruit Growers and Dealers of Kashmir have also sought to emphasise that they have stored their apple crop in CA/Cold Stores in the Valley for its further transportation to various destinations of the country.

The announcement of the ban on civilian traffic on Highway for two days will put the Fruit Growers of the Valley to face heavy losses, they have said.

“Similarly, the fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers coming from outside the state to valley will also get delayed and the Fruit Growers may not be in a position to spray the pesticides in their orchards well in time as per schedule of SKAUST”, fruit growers told Ziraat Times.

“Since the economic situation of the Valley is already deteriorated due to one or the other reason the ban on the movement of civilian traffic on National Highway will further worsen the economic status of the Valley. The ban imposed by the government for vehicular movement on Highway is totally unjustified and it clearly indicates that the entire system of the Valley will remain trapped during the ban period which leads to the inhuman and unjustified act on the hands of the govt machinery. It will also add more doubts/ negative thinking and approach in the minds of the common people of the Valley.”

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