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Expansion of Railway Connectivity Boosts Optimism Among Apple Growers and Dealers

 Expansion of Railway Connectivity Boosts Optimism Among Apple Growers and Dealers

Our main problems of freight hike and accessibility limitations, will be solved: Fruit Growers Union

Mubashir Aalam Wani

Srinagar, Feb 26 (KNO): With Kashmir’s railways connectivity being extended to the rest of the country, apple growers and dealers foresee its transformative impact on the horticulture sector.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the railway extension to Sangaldan, Sumber, and Khari areas of Ramban district under the USBRL Project in Kashmir. In the next five to six months, the link will connect with the rest of the country.

The long-awaited railway connectivity, which links Kashmir with the broader Indian railway network, is being hailed as a game-changer by farmers.

Among its many anticipated benefits, the newfound accessibility promises to address key challenges faced by the region's horticulture industry, particularly concerning transportation and freight costs.

“It is going to benefit Kashmir’s horticulture sector in a very big way. With full connectivity in July, our main problems of freight hike and accessibility limitations will be solved,” said chairman of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union.

He said the transportation of apples, which usually happens during the winter season, is often halted by high closures. “Railway is going to solve this problem which has been persisting for many decades,” Bashir said.

He said the freight will be controlled as well as the accessibility too will improve. “We often face freight hikes which escalate the losses of growers. Through extended railway service we will have to pay low freight as well as we will have a choice to ship smaller to bigger consignments,” Bashir said.

He also said the valley fruit can reach every nook and corner of India. “We have some selected fruit mandis where we ship our apples. Our market will grow with the railway services,” he said.

President, fruit mandi, Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad Malik also expressed optimism about the positive implications for their service in future. “The accessibility provided by the railway network is expected to streamline the transportation process, enabling quicker and more cost-effective movement of perishable goods, including fruits like apples,” he said.

Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy with seven lakh families directly and indirectly associated with the sector. Horticulture contributes eight percent to the Gross State Domestic

Product of Jammu and Kashmir. More than 3.38 lakh hectares of land is under the fruit cultivation in the valley. Of which 1.62 lakh hectares is under the apple cultivation—(KNO)

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