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Traders lament restrictions on Sgr-Jmu highway

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Urge govt to revoke decision

Srinagar, Jul 03: As if loss inflicted by the frequent hailstorms across the Valley this summer was not enough, the fruit business in Kashmir is now facing losses due to the restrictions imposed by the government on civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu national highway from Qazigund to Nashri five hours a day.

The government has imposed restrictions in view of the ongoing 46-day-long Amarnath Yarta that commenced on Monday.

The fruit-growers and dealers of the Valley say the restrictions on highway for five hours is disastrous for the horticulture industry.

The dealers and growers, under the banner of New Kashmir Fruit Association, Fruit Marketing Complex Parimpora Srinagar, said that they are worried over the restrictions on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway.

The association said that they have already suffered losses due to weather vagaries in past three months and frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway for one or the other reasons.

“We have suffered about huge losses. The situation has repeatedly been brought to the notice of all concerned authorities in the Governor’s administration. Even the Fruit Mandi Parimpora, which is one of the largest whole-sale markets after Delhi, and remains functional round the year, had been closed in protest for two days,” they said.

“Now at this crucial time of harvesting of fresh fruit crop like cherry and plum, which are highly perishable items and need to be transported to different destination outside state on war-footing basis, the restrictions once again on civil traffic for five hours daily on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in view of annual Amarnath Yatra is threatening the industry big time,” they added.

Meanwhile, various mainstream political parties have also expressed resentment against the restrictions on civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway and suspension of train services. They have asked the Governor-led administration here to revoke the decision at an earliest.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir expressed concern over the decision, saying that the government should withdraw order of suspension of vehicular traffic and train service forthwith to ensure that people as well as other tourists are not put to hardships due to this decision.

Mir said that people of Kashmir have always been enthusiastic to extend every help to people coming from across the country to perform Amarnath Yatra. They whole-heartedly welcome the Yatris and they will continue to remain important part of it (Yatra), Mir said.

National Conference (NC) general secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar decried the restrictions on civilian traffic on Qazigund-Nashri stretch, saying the measure is regressive and will put people to undue duress.

“The incumbent administration is known for coming up with such unconsidered decisions. The move will inadvertently hit the movement of civilian traffic on the Jammu–Srinagar highway,” he said.

He said the only highway connecting Srinagar with the rest of the country already suffers from intermittent blockages due to the vagaries of weather. “The other day the civilian traffic on the stretch was curbed for five hours. This diktat of putting retractions on the vehicular movement if persists will put the public to undue duress,” he said.

Peoples Conference also slammed the state government for taking such a decision. “The decision to impose restrictions upon the movement of civilian traffic on the 97-km stretch from Qazigund to Nashri and suspending train services between Qazigund to Banihal is unprecedented and unjustified. While the safety and security of Yatris is paramount, it cannot be at the cost of making the lives of people miserable,” PC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement.

He said this is the first instance of administration restricting civilian traffic along the highway to facilitate smooth movement of Yatra convoys.

“The ban will affect movement of fruit and vegetables trucks during Yatra which will disrupt the horticulture industry. The government must allow transportation of fruit trucks and other perishable items failing which the growers and dealers may face heavy losses,” he added.

Train services on Banihal-Qazigund section to be suspended from 10 am-3pm daily

Jammu, Jul 02: Train services on Banihal-Qazigund rail section in Kashmir Valley will remain suspended from Wednesday for some duration daily till the completion of the annual Amarnath Yatra, Railway officials said.

“Train service will remain suspended from 10 am to 3 pm from tomorrow till the completion of Amarnath Yatra,” Chief Area Manager Northern Railways, Srinagar, Mahesh Yadav, said.

The 46-day Yatra, which began on Monday, will conclude on August 15, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.

The trains in some areas will short originate and terminate at particular destinations, he said.

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