Srinagar: Kashmir Economic Alliance led by Showkat Ahmad Chowdhary has expressed its concern over the ‘harassment’ of traders at check-posts and dilapidated conditions of the fruit mandis in the Valley.
KEA-C in a statement issued on Monday demanded establishment of a state-of-art fruit mandi in apple town Sopore so that growers get better prices of their produce. “Kashmir is the largest apple producing place in India but only this place doesn’t have proper infrastructure to help the growers upgrade its quality and presentation. Government should set up a modern fruit mandi in Sopore where cold stores should be set up,” said Chowdhary. He said government should also investigate into the sale of spurious pesticides, which has plagued the fruit industry.
KEA-C also said the officials at Lowermunda and Lakhanpur are harassing Kashmiri traders in the garb of checking the goods.
The alliance said that Kashmiri traders are paying taxes properly but they are being mistreated unnecessarily only to discourage them from taking trade activities forward.
“Kashmir is a landlocked place for which government should extend various benefits. But on the contradictory the officials are harassing the traders,” said Chowdhary.
He said traders are regularly complaining that Commercial Taxes Department is ‘deliberately’ penalizing Kashmir-based traders without any apparent reason.
“The regular fines imposed on the traders or goods imported to Kashmir in trucks result in huge losses to the business community. The CT Department in order to exaggerate revenue at the end of the quarter or a financial year keep on imposing fines to achieve the revenue targets,” said KEA-C chairman.
KEA-C also expressed serious concern over the harassment meted out to Kashmiri students studying in different colleges outside the J&K State.
KEA-C said government of India should ensure the safety of the Kashmiri students by issuing directions to the heads of the educational institutes.
A number of cases of harassment were reported this year from various states. Even the Kashmir students, who are studying on Prime Minister’s scholarship scheme in various institutes across India, have also been harassed.
“This is irony. Students are taken to educational institutes outside the state on scholarships funded by Government of India but unfortunately they are harassed for being Kashmiris,” said KEA-C Chairman Showkat Chowdhary.
KEA-C said there are thousands of the students studying different courses in Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture and Teacher Educational Courses in various government and private colleges who are welcomed by locals.
“Kashmiris have always shown great hospitality with non-locals, be it tourists are students. Even pilgrims are warmly welcomed here but same warmth is not reciprocated to our students outside the state,” said Chowdhary.