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Amarnath Yatra: Amid protest over restrictions, L-G orders smooth movement of fruit, vegetable trucks

On Saturday, the fruit growers protested at Sopore against the government for stopping trucks carrying fruit and vegetable on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway to facilitate the movement of the Amarnath pilgrims.

By: Express News Service | Srinagar |
Updated: July 4, 2022 9:54:52 am
A view of Amarnath pilgrims having dinner at langars set up near Banihal Toll Plaza at Lamber in Ramban district. (Express photo)

J-K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has directed officials not to stop fruit and vegetable trucks on the highway amid anger in the Valley over the severe restrictions on the movement of traffic and people in Kashmir to facilitate the annual Amarnath Yatra.

Sinha’s directive has come after protests by fruit growers and traders in different parts of the Valley. “Officials to ensure fruit growers, farmers, dealers transporting perishable goods do not face any inconvenience on the national highway. It is the top priority of the administration to streamline the traffic for both Yatris and traders of fruits & vegetables,” said an official release Sunday quoting Sinha.

On Saturday, the fruit growers protested at Sopore against the government for stopping trucks carrying fruit and vegetable on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway to facilitate the movement of the Amarnath pilgrims. The traders said that since fruits and vegetables are perishable items, they have incurred losses in hundreds of thousands because of the government’s move to stop the trucks on the highway.

There were protests in several other parts of the Kashmir Valley, especially after videos showing paramilitary personnel stopping even pedestrians on several roads mostly in South Kashmir went viral. The severe restrictions have irked the people in the Valley as Eid al-Adha is just a week away.

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The severe restrictions on people’s movements have also drawn criticism from the political leaders in the Valley. “J&K’s economy already in free fall since 2019 is being further crippled due to harassment caused under the pretext of security on the national highway. All transporters be it meat or fruit suppliers are suffering massive losses,” tweeted former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti.

Several National Conference leaders, including parliamentarian Hasnain Masoodi, have also urged the government to review the security arrangements.

“After witnessing sullen and silent losses for years, orchardists had pinned high hopes following the bumper harvest of cherry, plums and other fruits. Unfortunately for them, their produce which was supposed to reach fruit mandis across the country is lying stuck on the highway for reasons known to the administration. The sweltering heat wave in the valley has destroyed truckloads of fruits, and vegetables plying to and fro from Srinagar to other parts of the country. Much losses have been incurred by mutton dealers as well,” said the National Conference leaders in a statement.

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“Security arrangements are well understood but not at the cost of people’s economic activities. Having such dim-witted diktat in place has not only dampened the festive spirit of people but also given a death blow to the already suffering businesses. Therefore in the greater interests of the people and their economic prospects, the ongoing security arrangement should be reviewed and attuned to people’s needs.”

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First published on: 04-07-2022 at 09:46:11 am

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