Srinagar, September 27
PDP president Mehboba Mufti said on Tuesday that they will block the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway if their vehicles are not allowed smooth passage along with fruit truck drivers.
“Lakhs are dependent on this (fruit trade), they have taken loans, they have taken money from Delhi mandis. Who will give them that money? Do you want it? So, if you don’t open the road, I will warn the government. Trucks, then I along with others will block the national highway,” Mehboba said in Shopian.
She visited the south Kashmir district to join protestors demanding smooth transport for fruit trucks stuck on the national highway.
“They don’t allow us to bring our rotten fruits in the mandis, but we will not allow this. I plead and warn you not to tempt the people of Kashmir,” she added.
Mehboba said horticulture is the backbone of the Union State’s economy, but attempts are being made to “harm it”.
“Not only the fruit producers but also the transporters have taken loans… This is economic terrorism. They say terrorism is over but the Indian government is doing the biggest terror here on the people and the fruits and vegetables.” She said.
The former JK chief minister accused the government of trying to do what the Jews had done by shutting down Palestine economically.
“Trucks going from Jammu to Kashmir reach here within a day, but trucks coming from here stay for four-five days. If this is not part of some conspiracy then why is it happening even after LG’s confirmation? We will? We will not allow this.”
“I have again appealed to the lieutenant governor to look into the matter seriously and not to stop our trucks. If this continues, they will also face problems,” she said.
Fruit growers of Kashmir staged a protest on Monday against the authorities stopping trucks loaded with apples at various points on the national highway at the country’s terminal markets.
The JK administration denied the allegations, saying the trucks were stopped due to natural causes.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Paul said in a statement on Monday that the trucks were stopped due to natural causes beyond anyone’s control.
It is half true that some fruit growers’ associations stand on fruit trucks and natural factors are hindering traffic: rain and stone pelting, we have problems with traffic movement beyond human capacity. ” said Paul.
All Jammu-bound trucks will be cleared on Monday night, he said.
The official has asked the transporters to use alternate Mughal Road with at least empty trucks to reduce traffic on the National Highway.
Meanwhile, traffic police said 45,923 trucks (including 17,631 Apple trucks) have moved from Srinagar to Jammu through the tunnel since September 1, according to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
On Monday, around 2,500 trucks were backlogged in Qazigund but trucks were again released from Srinagar to Jammu. But traffic came to a standstill on Tuesday morning due to stone pelting at Cafeteria Morh Ramban and movement was possible only in the afternoon after the road was closed.
According to the police, Apple cars have been given priority to clear the flow of traffic in Qazigund and under no circumstances will any Apple car be detained there for more than two days “contrary to false claims and propaganda by vested interests”.
JK Traffic Police said that strict action will be taken against those who spread false and unverified information regarding the movement of Apple cars.
He said additional steps have been taken to ensure smooth release of convoys by giving more time to increase the flow of apple trucks.
“Due to the closure of NH 44 due to stone pelting, HMVs (Heavy Motor Vehicles) have been released on consecutive days to clear the Apple cars and additional traffic personnel have been deployed to Quazigund and Banihal-Ramban stretch for smooth flow of traffic,” he said.
The traffic police have notified the Ramban market as “no parking space” and the Department of Horticulture and Fruits has been asked to post stickers on the windshield of each fruit-carrying truck to easily identify the apple or fresh produce with the following image as needed.
“A WhatsApp group has been formed at the level of traffic Hqrs where all stakeholders have been added for timely redressal of complaints against fruit growers. The traffic department has taken several steps to ease the pressure on Mughal Road. NH 44,” the police added.