JK NEWS UPDATES SRINAGAR, June 2: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) senior leader and former legislator Zaffar Iqbal Manhas on Tuesday demanded re-opening of Mughal Road mainly for transportation of Cherry to other parts of the country.
In a statement issued here, Manhas said the Cherry fruit worth thousands of crores of rupees will perish if the Mughal Road is not opened immediately. “The spread of COVID pandemic should not be made an excuse to conceal lack of will to work on the ground,” Manhas said and added that the lockdown across the country has been eased up and almost all other State governments have already allowed inter and intra state transportation of fruit and other agricultural produce amid the prevailing circumstances.
Stressing for allowing to and fro movement of fruit trucks from Kashmir to other parts of the country through Mughal Road, the JKAP leader said a hassle-free movement of fruit laden trucks via this historic road will safeguard economic interests of the fruit industry in J&K.
“Fruit growers who had stored their apple crops in cold storages last year and cherry growers are craving for reopening of the road to ferry their produce to Jammu and other parts of the country. Since the dilapidated Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is through only for vehicles carrying essential, the government should immediately re-open the Mughal Road for transportation of fruit especially Cherry produce as an alternative to the National Highway,” he demanded.
The JKAP leader also urged the J&K government to ensure affordable transportation of the fruit to the other parts of the country. Manhas said the government should arrange truck fleets on reasonable rates for farmers especially Cherry growers to supply their produce to markets across the country.
“The exorbitant freight charges and excessive commission from the fruit traders and transporters from outside the State is against the interests of farmers and orchardists of Kashmir and the government under the Lieutenant Governor should take notice of this issue on priority,” Manhas remarked.
He also urged government especially the department of horticulture and the associated institutions to pay adequate attention to the problems faced by the fruit growers especially dealing with the Cherry production. “This industry in J&K generates livelihood for thousands of unemployed youth and the government should provide requisite facilities to the people associated with this important sector accordingly,” Manhas observed.
He also urged the government to construct an underground tunnel to turn the Mughal Road into an all-weather route for the people of both the regions of J&K. “If the tunnel is constructed between Lal Ghulam and Chattapani, which lies on the other side of Pir Ke Gali, is constructed in a time bound manner, the same can reduce the distance between Srinagar and Jammu by over 30 kilometres. This tunnel will also bypass the toughest part of the stretch, which receives over seven feet of snow, especially at Pir Ki Gali, during peak winter,” he observed.
The JKAP leader said that once the Mughal Road becomes an all-weather route, the income of apple growers of Kashmir province, is likely to double. “The government should take serious measures in addressing this issue on priority so that the fruit growers and lacs of unemployed youth who are directly or indirectly associated with this industry take a sigh of relief,” Manhas added.