Pulwama, Oct 05 : While the apple harvesting is slowly picking pace in several parts of apple producing areas across Kashmir, leading increase in number of trucks carrying apple boxes to outside state fruit mandis every day, the truckers- particularly from southern states of India have been facing difficulties to find the load.
The non- functioning of Truck Unions that pushed them to this situation that despite coming to the Valley they find no load.
“We are here from last three days waiting to get the load, but nobody is contacting us,” K Maheshwar, a driver from Tamil Nadu told wire service.
He said they usually would come to the registered Truck Unions in Shopian and Pulwama districts, however, after reaching here, they found these offices shut.
“We used to come to the Truck Unions here, register our vehicle with them by paying nominal fees and after that they would arrange load (apple boxes) for us either directly from the growers or from commission agents,” Maheshwar said.
These truck drivers are clueless whom to approach for the load this season, after all the fruit mandis in Shopian and Pulwama are closed. “Whatever, fruit is being transported outside state is mostly done by local drivers here,” he told.
At the bypass near Gangoo village of Pulwama dozens of such trucks are there for some days with no hope of getting any business till Truck Unions start functioning in the area. Similarly, in search of load, several Trollers from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states have reached Industrial area Lassipora, where they have been sitting idle for days together now.
“We came Lassipora, after some people suggested us,” he said. These Troller drivers have been told that dozens of Cold Stores are being operated in Lassipora, where there was the possibility of getting the apple boxes.
Currently, almost all the major fruit mandis in Pulwama and Shopian have been lying defunct since the day government of India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
The apple growers here believe that the harvest of this cash crop was dragged deliberately to project the normalcy in current uncertainties; however, other agricultural activities have been going on normally. (KNO)