Highway blockade enforces closure of meat, vegetable shops in valley
Srinagar, Feb 11: The closure of Srinagar- Jammu national highway for nearly a week has plunged the valley into severe crisis of essentials, with traders believing the situation to turn ‘worse’ in coming days.
The 294 kilometers highway was closed for traffic on Wednesday after the valley witnessed snowfall, which resulted landslides and shooting stones at multiple places on the route.
Vegetable and mutton shops in city and towns, which received meager supply since last month, are currently closed and have almost finished their stocks.
Those who run their shops on previous supplies have soared the prices of essentials by nearly 30 per cent since last week.
A mutton kilogram currently sells at Rs 450 to 500 while as vegetables including cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes and peas witnessed a hike of nearly Rs 20 per kilogram.
The trade at Parimpora Fruit Mandi remained confined to the sale of only potatoes and onions since last four days, the stock of which too is nearing its end. Bashir Ahmad Bashir, president of Parimpora Fruit Mandi believed the situation arouse in the valley nearly after 15 years when highway would remain closed for weeks together.“The situation is very grim now in Kashmir as all the shops inside the market remained closed since last few days. Supply of vegetables has dropped considerably since last two months due to which problems aggravated both for consumers as well as traders,” he said.
Bashir said in fruits, a certain quantity of oranges imported from Pakistan were only available with them.“Trucks loaded with vegetables and fruits are stranded at Jammu. Further there is no local supply of collard even since last week’s snowfall,” he said.
As per the mutton dealers at least 70-100 trucks of livestock are stranded on way, which apparently will escalate their losses for the season.“There is no availability of mutton with the wholesale dealers. Since last six days, our entire supply is stuck somewhere between Srinagar to Jammu and we fear many of sheep might have died due to lack of fodder,” General Secretary All Jammu and Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association Mehraj-ud-din Ganie said.
He estimated the losses of nearly Rs15 crore this season due to the frequent closure of highway.“There is no improvement in the condition of highway despite the fact that we have to pay huge taxes every year to the government,” Ganie added.
Similarly, poultry dealers claim that they have been sufficing the demand with local production since last one week.“Kashmir being a chicken and mutton consuming state mostly depends on imports. We hope the traffic at highway resumes so that the demand is met,” said Munner Ahmad a local poultry dealer.