Transport Cherry, Strawberry to outside J&K; reach out to families of artisans: JKAP

Growers, artisans, weavers living in tremendous distress: Gh. Hassan Mir

Srinagar, June 6 (KNS): Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) leader and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir on Saturday urged the government to press into service the refrigerated vans for transportation of perishable fruits especially Cherry and Strawberry to outside J&K markets in order to prevent growers from incurring huge financial losses this year.
Mir also demanded a special financial package for the artisans of Shehr-e-Khaas who have suffered immensely due to the COVID lockdown.
In a statement issued to KNS, Mir said the harvesting of cherries and strawberry has already started and currently, double cherries and Awwal Number are being harvested by the growers but unfortunately due to the COVID lockdown they are not in a position to reap the benefits of their bumper crop this year.
“The government must facilitate refrigerated transportation for growers to ferry their produce to outside J&K markets on priority basis as the Cherry and Strawberry being perishable fruits have a small shelf life. As per the horticulture department the production of cherry this year may cross 12000 metric tonnes and if this fruit is not transported to outside markets in a time bound manner, the same is bound to have disastrous impact on growers of Kashmir,” he added.
He appreciated the government for contemplating to go for air cargo services for transportation of cherry from Kashmir to other parts of the country after June 15 but observed that any delay caused in this regard will serve no purpose to the growers because of perish ability of their fruit.
The JKAP leader demanded that Mughal Road be also re-opened mainly for transportation of Cherry to other parts of the country. “Cherry fruit worth thousands of crores of rupees will perish and re-opening of Mughal Road is an effective alternative till the air cargo services are resumed,” he added.
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 Mughal 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 essentials, 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.
Emphasizing on need to providing financial succour to the economically downtrodden artisans and weavers of Srinagar city especially those living Shehr-e-Khaas, Mir said the continuous lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus has severely hit the livelihood of hundreds of families associated with handicraft sector.
“Thousands of artisans and weavers especially living in Shehr-e-Khaas who make different types of handicraft products have been hit hard due to COVID lockdown and have suffered huge losses as they could not sell their products. The government should step in to help these families financially,” he demanded.
The JKAP senior leader remarked that the artisans and weavers were unable to get the required raw material for making products of Pashmina, Shawl, Carpet, Silverware, Woodwork, Crewel embroidery, Phool Kari, Kashmiri Rug and Papier-mache and they are going through tough times due to the prevailing pandemic.

“Since there is uncertainty over continuation of lockdown, the people associated with the handicrafts sector are living in a panic and are seriously worried about loss of their livelihood. It is the duty of the government to reach out these families which are living in penury,” Mir observed.(KNS)

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