SSP Removed Amid Outrage Over Halting Of Fruit Trucks On Kashmir Highway

Trucks transport Apples leave Kashmir valley | KO file photo by Abid Bhat

Jammu- A senior police officer was on Wednesday transferred and attached with police headquarters, a step that followed an outcry over halting of fruit-laden trucks from Kashmir valley to outside markets.

The transfer order of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), traffic national highway Shabir Ahmad Malik was issued by the home department, this morning.

In the order issued by Financial commissioner-cum-additional chief secretary Raj Kumar Goyal said, “In the interest of administration, Shabir Ahmad Malik, SSP Traffic NHW, is hereby transferred and attached with police headquarters, J-K, with immediate effect.”

Superintendent of Police, Ramban, Mohita Sharma was given the additional charge of the post till further orders, the order read.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole on Tuesday said almost all Jammu bound trucks were cleared and normal traffic on the 270-km strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been restored.

The highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, witnessed frequent disruptions past week owing to shooting of stones from a hillock overlooking the arterial road at Cafeteria-Mehar sector in Ramban district.

On Monday, the fruit growers of Kashmir staged a demonstration in Srinagar against the alleged failure of the administration to facilitate hassle-free movement of the trucks along the highway en route to terminal markets of the country.

The political parties also criticised the administration for the fruit growers’ plight with PDP president Mehbooba Mufti threatening to block the Srinagar-Jammu national highway if their vehicles are not allowed a smooth passage.

“Lakhs of people depend on this (fruit trade), they have taken loans, they have taken money from Delhi’s mandis. Who will give them that money? Will you?” former chief minister Mehbooba had said in Shopian.

“So, I warn the government if you don’t open the road for trucks, then I along with others will block the national highway,” she said.

National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah also criticised the administration for “miserably failing” in ensuring smooth movement of fruit-laden trucks and said it will have a “devastating, crippling effect” on the UT’s economy.

DC Ramban Orders No Parking Zone

The district authorities in Ramban district on Wednesday directed traffic department to enforce order of no parking zone to provide safe passage to fruit laden vehicles

Deputy Commissioner, Ramban Mussarat Islam passed these directions to
SDM and traffic police during a Block Diwas meeting in Banihal on Wednesday, an official spokesperson said. The meeting was also attended by SSP Mohita Sharma and PRI members.

The spokesperson said that several issues of public importance and grievances were raised by the PRI members and civil society members of the area, besides discussing the issues of smooth flow of traffic on National highway.

During the Block Diwas meeting, he said, the issues pertaining to traffic management were discussed with Beopar Mandal Banihal in detail.

He further said that the people projected various demands including provision of parking area in the Banihal town, sprinkling of water on roads in the to overcome the problem of dust and traffic jamming, augmentation of water supply, road connectivity to uncovered areas, execution of MGNREGA works and construction of JJM schemes proposed for the area.

“The DC directed the SDM and Traffic Police to implement the order of no Parking Zone, especially in Banihal town to provide safe passage to fruit carrying vehicles,” the spokesperson said.

Responding to the issue of parking in Banihal area, he said, the DC passed on the spot direction to the ADC to identify a suitable land for the same.

“He also inspected proposed space for parking and monitored the traffic regulation for smooth traffic movement on NH-44,” the spokesperson said.

“He directed the concerned to remove all the encroachments along the footpath in Banihal town. The DC and SSP also reviewed the transportation of nomads through trucks arranged by ARTO Ramban,” he added.

While speaking on the occasion, the spokesperson said that SSP briefed about the traffic scenario in the district.

“She appealed to the general public to cooperate with the police and traffic department for hassle free movement of the traffic as well as nomads. She directed the DySP Traffic to take strict action against the violators, especially in Banihal town,” he added.  (PTI)

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