Srinagar, May 17:

Former Finance Minister Altaf Bukhari on Thursday said there seems to be a deep rooted conspiracy to destroy Kashmir’s main sources of economy especially horticulture sector.

“This sector sustained state’s economy in its most turbulent times The dilapidated condition of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway coupled with ban on movement of civilian traffic on this only connecting link between the Valley and rest of the country is a manifestation of some covert plot to give collective punishment to people of Kashmir,” Bukhari observed.

The former Minister said that blockade of the Highway due to lackadaisical approach of authorities has now become a causal affair.

“Every winter people are supposed to face the miseries due to the condition of National Highway especially in areas including Banihal, Ramban, Nashri, Batote, Amarchasma and Patnitop. The Highway authorities have failed in up gradation and widening of this road at these places despite its upkeep being handed over to it, long back,” Bukhari lamented.

He said no concrete or permanent solutions are found to make the highway an all weather road connecting Kashmir.

“With the result not only commuters but the fruit, vegetable, livestock laden trucks are halted for long durations which not only inflict miseries on people but prove detrimental to the state’s economy,” he remarked.

The former minister said that on one hand government had promoted cold storage chains in Kashmir and on the other it banned the movement on the highway which has hugely impacted transportation of fruit from different places to the storage centers.

Bukhari said in such a scenario, instead of providing a hassle free movement to fruit laden trucks, the government seems adamant that farmers and orchardists do not get optimum returns of their yield by not taking measures to resolve their grievances.

“Over 70 percent population directly and indirectly earn their livelihood by adopting the practices in horticulture sector in Kashmir and this industry generates around Rs 8000 crore income annually. This sector should have been the main focus of the government polices but alas the ground reality is totally opposite,” he said.

Courtesy: Greater Kashmir