The closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway this winter has resulted in shortage of essential commodities in the Valley leading to escalated prices of many essentials including medicine, petroleum, LPG and edibles like mutton, vegetables and fruits.
Even though the State administration had constituted special market-checking squads to prevent overpricing of commodities, the prices of essential commodities have sky-rocketed during the past month.
Being a meat-consuming State, mutton is being reportedly sold in retail at Rs 500/kg and chicken at Rs 160/kg. The prices of vegetables and fruits have also increased by Rs 20/kg to Rs 30/kg after the closure of the highway. Owing to the shortage of essentials, the divisional administration Kashmir had issued an advisory about the rationing of fuel – petrol, diesel and LPG. The business community has held the highway closure responsible for the price hike. The closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway due to inclement weather often leads to the stoppage of supplies, making goods rot on the road. During the highway closure, most of the livestock on way to Srinagar die in trucks due to cold or want of food because the cattle are mostly imported from Punjab and are heavily dependent on the Srinagar-Jammu highway to reach the valley.
During the highway closure, majority of cattle die on the road, incurring huge losses to the business community. This is one of the arguments advanced by the mutton retailers. The situation is similar in the poultry business. They say that they are incurring huge losses in their imports and whatever little supply they receive, it is obvious that there will be price rise. Need of the hour is that the governor led administration must take measures to make the Srinagar-Jammu national highway motorable as soon as possible and also ensure the checks and balances in the market so that the whole burden is not put on a consumer who faces the brunt of winter vagaries and inefficient administration.