Highway attack leaves 1500 fruit-laden trucks under threat

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Any untoward incident would incur losses to economy worth hundreds of crores: KCCI

SRINAGAR: Some 1500 trucks laden with fruit are under direct threat following the burning of a Srinagar-bound truck on Friday night that left three people injured, one of them severely.  

 “Our drivers and goods are not safe,” said President President JK Goods Transport Association, M Sidiq Ronga. “Government should immediately arrest all the people involved with the attack or horticulture industry will suffer huge losses. Government will be responsible for all the losses of goods and lives.”

Expressing deep concern over the safety of drivers, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) said that the Law and Order machinery of the State must ensure that trucks reach their destination on time. “If the fruit doesn’t reach the destination on time, it’ll incur losses to Kashmir economy into thousands of crores,” KCCI President, Manzoor Ahmad Wani said. “We had a joint press conference with the Jammu Chamber as well whose response was positive.”

“The Jammu Chamber has given us assurance, though a limited one, that the trucks would complete their journey unhindered,” Wani said.   

Meanwhile, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Monday accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of plotting against Kashmiris by allowing the RSS to block and damage Kashmir-bound trucks.

Addressing a press conference here, KEA Chairman Showkat M Chowdhary said Muslims in India were being threatened since BJP took over.

“Not only Kashmiris but Muslims in India are not safe now. BJP is plotting against Kashmirs by allowing vested interested people to block supplies to Kashmir on Srinagar-Jammu highway. Repeated incidents have happened at Uhdampur but government is still silent. It seems, government is waiting for another incident to happen,” said Chowdhary.

KEA warned business community from Jammu to decide whether they wanted to continue trade with Kashmiris or “we will also take some action”.

“We are peace loving people. We have good business ties with Jammu traders.  Both Jammu and Kashmiri traders are dependent on each other. If our trucks are blocked, we can also send back the trucks owned by Jammu businessmen,” warned Chowdhary, adding, “Hundreds of trucks of Jammu transporters ply to Kashmir for supplies.”

KEA Chairman said RSS at the behest of BJP was trying to weaken the Kashmiris economy with such tactics.

“Around 1500 trucks laden with fruit are these days exported to other states. RSS have chosen appropriate time to attack these trucks so that this horticulture industry receives set back and weaken our economy,” said Chowdhary. “We may have political differences with Jammu people but we have always maintained good relations with them. If some people are trying to divide the two regions, then the Jammu civil society, businessmen should unequivocally condemn it in order to continue trade relations with us.”

KEA has demanded security on Srinagar-Jammu highway for smooth passage of Kashmir-bound trucks.

He also accused government of “covering up the issue.”

“If for small incident in Kashmir, young boys are slapped with PSA, why can’t government slap PSA on those responsible the attacks,” demanded Ronga.

President Urban Travel Trade Association John Mohammad said many Kashmir-bound tourist coaches from Katra have moved back to Jammu.

“Tourism will also be hit if such incidents recur. We receive many tourists from Katra who can’t be transported to Kashmir in such circamastances,” said John Mohammad.

Chairman Houseboat Owners Association M Y Chapri, General Secretary Contractors Coordination Committee Farooq Dar, President Kashmir Minibus Federation M Yousuf, Shah Jahan of Food Processing Association, Bashir Matta of Western Bus Union, Ghulam Mohammad of KMD and others were present on the occasion.

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