NHW blockade chokes Kashmir; prices escalate

(Representational Picture) 

Srinagar: The unusual summer blockade of the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu national highway ended on Sunday, but the markets across Kashmir valley witnessed soaring prices and shortage of supplies.

As soon as the highway was shut, the prices of vegetables and fruits almost doubled. The highway shutdown, which is common during the winter but rare during the summer, led many to conjure up conspiracy theories.

“It is being done deliberately. They want to weaken us economically and make us beg. Otherwise when has it happened in the past during the summer,” said a vegetable vendor in the city.

The Srinagar-Jammu highway, which is the only supply route for the essentials to the Valley, was shut four days ago when a massive landslide blocked it at Digdol in Ramban district. As hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the highway, Kashmir ran out of stocks.

The highway shutdown has caused a rise in the prices of commodities in the Kashmir valley as stocks have depleted amid a high demand in the wake of Ramzan.

An official of the traffic department said the highway was restored on Sunday but only stranded Kashmir-bound vehicles were allowed to move. The latest shutdown has led to a call for alternative and all-weather supply route to the Valley.

On Saturday, National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar issued a statement, urging the administration to make “fully functional” other routes, connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country.

“The blockade has ruined various perishable items and other edibles. It has also killed many livestock. The traders continue to be at the receiving end,” Sagar said.

The highway had remained shut for most days during the winter due to spells of rain and snowfall. The frequent shutdown of the highway has also created a scare among the traders in Kashmir.
(The Tribune)

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