Kashmir-based trade and business community has expressed concern due to closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway on Monday.
“At a time when consumption levels increase and there is a great requirement of food and other essentials, the highway closure doesn’t augur well for Kashmir economy. Amid high temperatures if livestock is stuck on highway for a few days it increases the mortality rate. In addition perishables and other food items also rot which causes shortage of goods in the market,” said Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan.
Meanwhile, efforts are also being made to ensure that there is abundant stock of fruits and vegetables available in the mandis so that prices in the retail market are kept under check.
President, Parimpora Fruit Mandi, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said all fruit dealers are ensuring that despite closure of highway fruits and dates are being sold at reasonable prices.
“Compared to last year Ramadhan, dates, vegetables and fruits are being sold on lower prices. A bumper crop of vegetables and abundant supply of fruits has kept rates under check. We have informed our dealers to offer concessional rates in Ramadhan,” Basheer said.
However, Basheer said if the closure of highway continues for few days, prices of essentials will shoot up. “It has been experienced in the past also that few days of highway closure leads to scarcity of goods in Kashmir. Taking a step such as closing down highway is quite an avoidable thing to do if we want market to remain stable,” Basheer said.
As per rates of essentials at Parimpora Fruit Mandi, dates are being sold between between Rs 120- Rs 340/kg. While Banana’s are being sold at Rs 50-55 per dozen, Mangoes are priced between Rs 40-45 per Kg. While prices of Tomato and Onions has been fixed at Rs.11-13 per Kg in the mandi, Basheer said.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure that food items and other essentials are sold at notified prices in the open market especially during the holy month of Ramadhan, the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) has issued revised rate lists for several goods. Chicken which is being sold at Rs 140-Rs150 per kilogram at present has been notified to be sold at Rs 120/kg.
“We revised fruits and vegetable prices a week prior and have today notified prices of chicken. We have informed all stakeholders including dealers of the new prices. Incase there is a violation of these prices our enforcement teams will act accordingly,” said Muhammad Aslam, Deputy Director, FCSCA. Aslam said in order to ensure that genuine people are involved in trading of mutton, FCSCA has asked all mutton dealers to renew their licences so that only registered persons can operate their businesses.
“Our Lower Munda check post team has been strengthened and has been given clear direction to ensure that only genuine, registered persons supply livestock to Kashmir,” Aslam said.