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Highway blockade: Fruit traders announce indefinite strike from April 29

Highway blockade: Fruit traders announce indefinite strike from April 29
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Mutton dealers also stage protest, say trucks carrying livestock stopped by police

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Srinagar: Fruits and vegetables are likely to get dearer in Kashmir valley as dealers at the Fruit Mandi Parimpora are planning to go for an indefinite strike from Monday April 29 to protest against the routine stopping of fruit and vegetables-laden vehicles on the Jammu Srinagar Highway near Udhampur. Meanwhile, mutton dealers have also alleged stoppage of trucks bt the police.
The Mandi comprises of more than 300 shops and around 3000 people are directly associated with it for earning their livelihood.
President, New Kashmir fruit Association Parimpora, Bashir Ahmad said that they have called for an indefinite strike from Monday April 29.
“Every day our fruit and vegetables- laden vehicles are stopped unnecessarily in Udhampur by police. Fruits have short shelf life and they get destroyed due to stopping of our vehicles on the highway. We understand that losses are inflicted deliberately,” the president claimed.
He said that though they raised the issue many a times with the top authorities but no heed was paid to their concerns.
“Now we have decided to shut our business till our problem won’t be resolved,” he added.
He said that they are not satisfied with the assurances given by the government and therefore they have decided to call for a strike.
He claimed that due to unnecessary stopping of vehicles, the traders at fruit mandi are losing crores every month.
“Deliberately our trucks are being stopped in the Udhampur region. We have seen that when a truck offers money to the police, only then they allow them to move towards Kashmir,” Bashir Ahmad claimed.
He further alleged that even on Sunday when traffic was not allowed on highway, they received several vegetable and fruit- laden trucks from Jammu, and “they told us that they paid money to the police who later allowed them to move”.
The Parimpora fruit mandi was inaugurated by then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1982 with a vision of transforming it into a model Mandi.
Sources said that supply of vegetables and fruits could be hit, triggering a price rise, if the strike starts and continues.
The supply of vegetables and fruits such as onions, potato, mangoes, oranges, grapes, chillies, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes is largely dependent on this mandi.
Meanwhile, the Valley based mutton dealers are also up in arms against the government. The dealers who staged a protest here today alleged that more than 150 valley bound mutton trucks are stranded at Udhampur.
The mutton dealers protested against ‘unexplained halt of valley bound livestock trucks’ at Udhampur by traffic police for seven days now.
The dealers assembled as press enclave here to protests claiming they have suffered huge losses.
The claimed that 150 trucks have been halted at Udhampur since the past seven days.
Mohammed Saleem Mir, resident of Safakadal Srinagar said that live stock trucks loaded with goats and sheep are being stopped at Udhampur from at least one week without any reason provided by the traffic police.
“Trucks carrying livestock from Jammu to Srinagar are stuck and we are facing a loss of Rs 10 lakh daily. In addition, a serious threat is posed to the health of livestock due to weather conditions,” Mir said.
They said that many shopkeepers have raised the prices of the commodity and are taking undue advantage of their problems.
The protesting dealers urged the governor to intervene in the matter so that they can heave a sigh of relief. (With inputs from KNS)

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