Highway closed for 3rd day: Essential commodities becoming scarce

SRINAGAR:  Due to continuous blockade of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, essential commodities in Kashmir valley have become scarce while hoarders are making quick bucks taking advantage of the situation.

Reports said that people are finding it hard to get essential commodities like milk, chicken, cooking gas, kerosene, fresh vegetables at fixed rates as prices have touched to sky after the snowfall.

People are complaining that essential commodities are being sold in black market as there is no check on market from the authorities. “A cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which normally costs Rs. 440, after the present snowfall is being sold at Rs 650 in the black-market. Kerosene has also disappeared from the retail outlets as it is being sold in the black-market at Rs 20 per litre”, said Javid Ahmed a resident of Chanapora.

Before the fresh snowfall, the authorities had claimed that enough stocks of LPG cylinders were available in the valley to ward off any crisis caused by the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

According to reports, the prices of mutton, chicken and other eatables have also increased by 30 to 40 per cent while auto rickshaw drivers have doubled the charges from passengers in Srinagar city and other major towns. The government has said that there is no shortage of essential commodities in the Valley.

A Government official said that buffer stocks of essential commodities are available in the state, while special attention was being paid to ensure smooth distribution of the same among the people.  

 Earlier,  the Minister of State for Home, Industries and Commerce  Sajad Ahmad Kichloo took stock of the measures taken to restore the vehicular movement on Srinagar-Jammu and other Highways besides interior roads blocked following recent heavy snowfall  here today  at a high level meeting .

“The Srinagar – Jammu National Highway is likely to be thrown open for one way traffic movement tomorrow as the clearance of stranded vehicles, including goods carrier and passenger buses enroute 300 KM artery road would be completed by this evening,” an official spokesman in a statement issued here said.

Kichloo was informed that the Qazigund-Jawahar Tunnel stretch of the National Highway has been cleared today morning, the road stretch between Ramban – Batote would be cleared by 11.30 a.m. today. The Jammu-Patnitop sector of the National Highway has already been opened for vehicular movement.

Divisional Commissioner, Jammu,  Shantmanu, Inspector General Traffic,  Muneer Khan, Inspector General of Police, Jammu  Sunil Sharma DIG Traffic,  Shafqat Watali, Superintendent of Police Traffic, Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, S. P Traffic, Rural and concerned officers attended the meeting.

 The meeting was also told that the traffic movement on national highways connecting Erstwhile Doda District, border districts of Poonch Rajouri would also be restored fully by tomorrow.

“It was informed that clearance of landslides near Thathri, which caused blockade of this road section of the Batote-Kishtwar National Highway, will be completed today positively. The post-snow status in Poonch and Rajouri district was also reviewed in the meeting,” the official spokesman added.

 The meeting also reviewed stock and supply position of essential commodities and restoration of essential public service in the snowbound    areas of the State.

Temp Dips Further

After showing an upward trend for two days, the mercury across the Valley dipped several degrees last night owing to clear skies.

“The minimum temperature in Pahalgam dipped by nearly eight degrees to settle at -12.2 degrees Celsius compared with -4.6 degrees Celsius the previous night (Wednesday),” a Met department official said.

It was the coldest night of the season so far in the tourist resort. The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg registered a low of -11.0 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The mercury in Srinagar settled at -2.1 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night’s 1.3 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Qazigund was -2.8 degrees Celsius, while the mercury fell to a low of -6.4 degrees Celsius in Kokernag and -4.4 degrees Celsius in Kupwara, the official said.

Leh in Ladakh region recorded a low of -15.3 degrees Celsius, more than eight degrees down from the previous night’s -7.2 degrees Celsius.

Kargil recorded a low of -11.6 degrees Celsius, the official said. The weatherman has forecast light snow or rainfall across the Valley over the next 24 hours.

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