The decision to allow hassle free transportation of fresh fruits along the Srinagar Jammu National Highway after the personal intervention of Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha is laudable.
The decision has not only safeguarded the interests of the fruit industry thereby benefiting lakhs of families who are directly or indirectly involved with this business but at the same time has disseminated a message that the government is keen to revive the ailing fruit industry in Kashmir.
Shri Amarnath Yatra is a routine religious activity conducted every year in Jammu and Kashmir except for the last two years break because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the government needs to ensure all the arrangements including security measures, this holy pilgrimage should not be tackled in isolation.
Authorities can ensure a secure and peaceful passage of Yatris along the National Highway while maintaining a different time slot for the passenger and business traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
Damages caused to the fruit industry by the inclement weather conditions coupled with the losses incurred on account of Covid-19 pandemic need to be assessed in a scientific manner. The government needs to compensate for the losses once that assessment is done in a time bound manner.
The fruit industry plays a pivotal role in running the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. And it is an obligation for any welfare state to work for the interests of its people. The government of India should come forward to announce a special package for the fruit industry that has the potential to create employment for the thousands of educated and uneducated youths of Jammu and Kashmir who otherwise feel alienated for want of a dignified livelihood.