Hundreds of fruit-laden trucks stranded, farmers anguished
SRINAGAR: The closure of the strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway has stranded hundreds of fruit laden trucks, sparking fears among the farmers that their
year-long efforts may come to a naught.
According to officials, more than 3000 trucks are stranded due to massive landslides and shooting stones in Ramban area along the only all-weather road that connects Kashmir Valley with the rest of the world.
“Many of these trucks are laden with fruits. If the highway doesn’t open soon, it will certainly impact the quality of the fruits and thereby reduce the prices,” Abdul Rashid, a farmer from Chrari Sharief locality of Budgam district said.
“The untimely snowfall on November 7 had already destroyed the orchards. Whatever crop we could save was transported to mandis and we were hoping for some earnings to pay off for the pesticides and labour hired during the past year for maintaining the orchards. Now with highway
closure, a sense of desperation is growing among the farmers,” he said.
An official in the traffic department said the men and machinery of the police and civil administration are on the job to open the highway at the earliest, “Due to the latest spell of rain and snow, the highway has become dangerous, especially along the Ramban stretch,” the official said.
The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed again on Thursday due to fresh snowfall and landslides, triggered by rain since Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, the historic 86-km-long Mughal road remained closed since November 6 due to several feet of fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours.
There was moderate to heavy snowfall on the highway at Qazigund, Banihal, Jawhar tunnel and other areas since Wednesday night after heavy rain during the day when large number of Jammu bound vehicles from Kashmir had crossed the Ramban and Ramsu landslide prone area safely, a traffic
police official said.