About 8,000 trucks carrying apples were stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for the past two weeks. Truckloads of apples were rotting on the highway. While the trucks were finally allowed to move on Monday evening, the growers are yet to evaluate the loss caused by the packaged apples being left unattended in trucks, covered under plastic sheets.
Bashir Ahmad Basheer, the president of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union, an apex body of the fruit growers across Kashmir, emphasized that when fruit-laden trucks get stranded on the highway for days, it leads to degradation of the quality of apples, resulting in a reduction in their prices.
Due to the worsening condition of the national highway, Basheer said that the authorities had earlier decided to allow one-way traffic on alternate days. However, he said that on days when the vehicular movement from Srinagar to Jammu was allowed, the Army convoys would start passing, leading to the fruit-laden trucks remaining halted on roads for long.
Another problem faced by the fruit growers has been the import of Iranian apples to Kashmir, he said. “Iranian apples are cheaper as they are imported illegally and hence not charged with import prices,” he said. “There is no major difference in the taste between Iranian and Kashmiri apples, so people prefer the former over our apples.”