Ahead of the fruit harvesting period in Kashmir valley, Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta has urged the traffic authorities to make preparations well ahead to ensure smooth flow of trucks on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, particularly those carrying perishable fruit consignments. He made the remarks while reviewing the progress of different highways taken up under the Prime Minister Development Program (PMDP) on Friday. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is a crucial lifeline for the passage of fruit trucks from Kashmir. The highway serves as the primary road link connecting the Kashmir Valley to the rest of India, particularly to the markets in Jammu and beyond. It plays a vital role in facilitating the transportation of the region’s abundant produce, especially fruits like apples, pears, cherries, and apricots to various markets across the country. Therefore, taking adequate measures ahead of the harvesting season is the need of the hour as last year complaints were received regarding the ‘delay’ in the movement of trucks carrying fruits on the national highway. The Chief Secretary stressed upon the executing agencies to complete all these road projects providing interconnectivity to different regions in the stipulated time frame. He enjoined upon them that the significance of these roads is very high as the UT, due to its hilly terrain, has hardly any alternative roads to link various parts. He directed the concerned authorities to strictly stick to the timeline of completing these road projects. He made out that these projects make significant contributions towards the economic upliftment of various parts. All the officers including the Deputy Commissioners should take keen interest in seeing them completed on time, he added. Dr Mehta while taking review of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway stressed on the executing agencies to work for completing all the tunnels especially T3, T5 and other viaducts on time. He observed that the travel time has got considerably reduced on this road yet the remaining projects between the Ramban-Banihal stretch needs to be made more reliable. The Chief Secretary also reviewed the progress of the construction of four-laning of Ramban flyover and completion of Banihal Bypass. He also took stock of the under-construction bridge at Qazigund, Railway Over-Bridge at Anantnag and Lasjan flyover. He fixed the timelines for completion of each of these Road projects and directed for not to extend these beyond the agreed timelines. These directions are timely and the concerned officials should ensure that the same are implemented properly. Fruits like apples have a limited harvest window when they are ripe and ready for picking. Any delay in transportation can result in spoilage and financial losses for the farmers. The highway’s accessibility and condition are critical to ensuring that the produce reaches its destination quickly. The fruit industry is a significant contributor to Kashmir’s economy. The income generated from fruit sales sustains the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families. The smooth operation of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway directly affects the income of these farmers and the overall economic well-being of the region.