Essentials Shortage Hits Kashmir
By Bilal Hussain
15 July, 2010
Defying government claims of sufficient supply of essential items to the valley, locals here say they are facing shortage of critical commodities. Traders too maintain, not to have taken fresh supplies from past few weeks.
President, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers' Federation (KTMF), Mohammad Sadiq Baqal said that from past three weeks almost all traders across valley haven’t taken any fresh supplies.
Due to the ongoing restrictions and protests following the recent civilian killings by troopers, markets in the valley remained closed from past few weeks. “Traders haven’t been able to open their shops and couldn't place fresh orders,” said Baqal.
Traders here said that older stocks is still lying with them and is not exhausted. “It is case with one and all traders here particularly from the downtown area,” he added.
Even as the effect on the supplies to the Valley in the initial days of the strike was little, transporters and traders here said the impact there after was severe, and could worsen if the restrictions and protest goes on unabatedly.
The strike could badly affect the imports to the Valley. "On an average over 100 trucks daily come to the Valley with vegetables and fruits," said a local transporter, adding that if the strike continued it would be “a crisis situation for Kashmir.”
Besides a severe shortage of stocked food items like rice, flour, pulses, sugar, and many other commodities residents are having a tough time in procuring daily items like milk, bread, and vegetables. “From past so many days I am looking for baby powder milk for my eight month old infant but none of my attempts could fetch me it,” said a desperate father of a child, Basharat Ahmad.
Many unscrupulous distributors and stockiest, according to some customers, have started dumping the commodities to sell them at high prices.
In normal times thousands of trucks enter the valley through Srinagar-Jammu highway, but since the restrictions and protests have begun the supply has been disrupted.
The disruption in the supply, according to experts here, could add to the inflation and raise the prices of commodities.
The prolonged protests throughout the valley and restriction in downtown in Srinagar could cause major problems as the Kashmir is dependent on the food and other essential imports from outside. "Prices of vegetables have started to rise," said a local, Tahir Yousf Rather.
Vegetable vendors here said that the supply from outside is not reaching them for past few weeks and they are managing the supply locally.