Srinagar, Sep 26: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday said that it was deeply concerned over the matter that hundreds of trucks carrying apples were getting stranded at national highway, particularly near the 20km stretch from Qazikund to Banihal.
“The government must effectively find a way out, as the apple harvesting season is gaining momentum with every passing day now. Any further delay in solving the problem can badly hit the Kashmir economy, mostly dependent on apple trade. This is peak fruit season in Kashmir and this is for the first time when we are seeing this mess on the national highway,” a spokesperson of the traders body said here.
The apple growers and traders have been alleging that the trucks are halted for days together and their movement frequently disturbed, he said.
The Spokesperson of KCC&I said that if fruit does not reach markets outside J&K on time, its quality gets badly affected leading to financial losses to them.
Around 7 lakh farming families, approximately 35 lakh people, are directly or indirectly associated with the horticulture sector, he said. “Apples contribute to around 8% of Jammu and Kashmir’s gross domestic product. There are ten fruit mandis in the valley which include Srinagar, Sopore, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Pachhar, Anantnag, Handwara, Baramulla and Ganderbal. When the trucks are stopped for days, it directly affects the fruit and fruits often rot until trucks reach mandis,” he said, adding, “The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to make the passage of vehicles easy so that fruit growers do not face losses which ultimately drains the economy.”
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