In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the people including traders and fruit growers have said that they have been facing losses due to the frequent closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The authorities frequently close the highway, resulting in the halting of vehicles including trucks laden with fruits and other food items in Mehar and Panthyal areas of Ramban, the Kashmir vally’s only link to outside world.
Tonnes of apples had rotten when a large number of trucks could not move due to the closure of the highway for days in September 2020.
Mir Mohammad Amin, an apple trader from Shopian, said, “Last year was a complete disaster due to the frequent closure of the highway. Apple growers lost crores of rupees as their fruit did not reach Jammu and other markets of the world in time. When the highway was opened after days, the Jammu fruit mandi saw a glut, triggering a sharp decrease in the apple price.”
Arun Gupta, president of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said perishable items sent from Jammu region to Kashmir valley remained stranded due to the frequent closure of the highway, resulting in losses.
On the other hand, owing to the Indian government’s rigid policy on Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Home Ministry in 2019 stopped the LOC trade and also suspended the Srinagar to Muzaffarabad “peace bus” service. —KMS