The season’s first snowfall on Saturday has caused extensive damage to orchards across Kashmir. Thousands of growers and orchard owners across Kashmir have complained that they have suffered huge losses to their orchards and fruit.
Official sources said about 5000 trucks carrying fruit were stranded at Lavdora on Srinagar-Jammu Highway. They said they were giving priority to the clearance of these trucks.
The snowfall has left thousands of apple growers in north Kashmir distressed as scores of fruit trees have been damaged.
To add to their worries, thousands of apple laden trucks have got stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway due to the closure of the road by the snowfall.
“The stranded trucks on the highway may cause rotting of apple, with the result the growers will suffer massive losses,” said Aijaz Ahmad, a fruit grower from AchabalSopore.
A spokesperson of Kashmir fruit and dealers’ association, fruit MandiSopore said that ahead of Deepawali festival which is scheduled on Nov 7, thousands of apple laden trucks had been sent to Delhi. “However, these trucks have got stuck on the Srinagar-Jammu highway and there are no efforts from the state government to facilitate their early clearance,” he said.
“Usually Delhi market remains our main focus ahead of Divali festival and our fruit should reach there by Nov 4. However, due to bad weather all our fruit laden trucks are stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu highway and we have lost huge market,” said Fayaz Ahmad Malik, president of the association.
He said the sudden snowfall on Saturday has also inflicted losses worth crores of rupees on the growers as the apple fruit was yet to be harvested. “Besides scores of apple trees have suffered damage especially in the upper belt of the fruit grown villages,” he said. “There is still around 30 percent fruit on trees. The snow will lead to cold condition and this fruit can rot within no time” Malik said.
In south Kashmir’s Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama districts, the snowfall has caused huge damage to apple orchards.
“Some apple varieties were yet to be harvested. The snowfall damaged large number of apple trees in almost entire southern Kashmir,” said Faizan Khan, an apple grower from AbhamaPulwama. He said apple trees had suffered damage in other villages too, such as Rahmoo, Shadimarg, Rajpora, Qamrazipora and Sangarwani of Pulwama district
Sources said apple orchards were also damaged in Tral, Awantipora and Khrew which are known for apple production. “Lot many apple trees were damaged in Tral, Bathnoor, Laribal, Shikargah, Koil, Sangnad areas,” locals told Greater Kashmir.
Locals from Shopian said the growers were hit by the snowfall. “There is a huge damage to apple trees,” said Abdul Gaffar, a grower of ImamsahibShopian.
Similar reports were received from Bhijbehra, Mattan, Kokernag and Batengoo areas of Anantnag district.
The locals from various areas also complained about breakdown in the power supply.
“Our men are working swiftly to restore power supply immediately in various southern areas,” executive engineer PDD Awantipora told Greater Kashmir. Meanwhile, the slippery condition of roads affected the movement of traffic at several places that led to traffic jams at many places on Sunday. Snow however has been cleared from all the main and inter-connected roads, but people in residential areas complained that lanes and by-lanes were still impassable due to accumulated snow.