Srinagar: The Kashmir Economic Forum (KEF) has expressed concern over losses suffered by fruit growers and traders because of the closing of Jawahar tunnel from evening to morning.
KEF Chairman Showkat Chowdhary has urged the government to keep the Jawahar tunnel open for 24 hours so that no fruit-laden truck remains stranded on this side. Chowdhary said that the delay in transportation damages the fruits.
Chowdhary said that horticulture forms the mainstay of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir and the government should provide every kind of support to the fruit growers at this time when fresh fruits are being exported to markets outside the state.
“The fruits have low shelf life and if the fruit-laden trucks are stranded unnecessarily at the tunnel, the consignment would not reach the dealers outside the state on time. The fruit will be damaged. By restricting the movement of the trucks at Jawahar tunnel, government is spoiling the fresh fruits and the horticulture industry,” Chowdhary said in a statement.
Chowdhary said that transporters are also charging higher rates because of the time they spend on the road. “When trucks are stranded at the tunnel, the freight charges also increase, which further causes losses to the growers,” said Chowdhary. The KEF chairman said September, October and November are the only months in which fresh fruits from Kashmir, especially apples, are harvested and exported to other states.
“The valley growers toil hard during the whole year for their crop. Now, when they have to get dividends of their produce, government is spoiling the fruit by not delaying the closure timing of the tunnel,” said KEF. “Government should regulate the freight charges or else horticulture sector will be affected,” Chowdhary urged the government.
The KEF also demanded 25 percent subsidy on freight to help the fruit growers.
“The freight is high this time and if 25 percent subsidy is given to growers on their freight charges, it would ease their burden and help them recover losses,” Chowdhary said.