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Indian state halts apple carrying trucks on Srinagar-Jammu highway

On 27th September, prominent Kashmiri fruit trader Mudasir Ahmed Bhat said that the halting of trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway by the state authorities has led to a loss of around Rs 5 billion to the growers, buyers, and dealers in the month of September. Roadworks have halted thousands of trucks carrying millions of dollars worth of apples on Kashmir’s main highway, triggering protests by growers as their produce begins to rot. “We have 8,000 trucks carrying apples worth one billion rupees, or about $12.25m stranded on the highway for the last two weeks,” Bashir Ahmad Basheer, the head of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers and Dealers Union, told Reuters news agency. Employing more than three million people, fruit cultivation is an economic lifeline for Kashmir. All 10 major wholesale fruit markets in the Kashmir valley were shut on Sunday and Monday as farmers protested against what they said was willful mismanagement by the state. Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said that the “Government of India is crushing the economy of Kashmir as Israel did with Palestinians.” She also raised the question that why does a truck take a single day to reach Srinagar from Jammu and other parts of India, but it takes four days from Kashmir to go outside the valley after loading fruits. Political analysts maintain that by halting trucks exporting apples outside of the valley, the Indian state is inflicting economic pain and transforming Kashmir into a consumer-state from a producing one.[14]

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