Srinagar: With the arterial Srinagar-Jammu
national highway closed for the second day on Monday, essential
commodities like cooking gas, kerosene, fresh vegetables,
milk, chicken and mutton have become scarce in the valley
markets giving hoarders an opportunity to make quick money.
The prices of chicken and mutton have increased by 25
to 30 per cent while auto rickshaw drivers have doubled the
charges from passengers in Srinagar city and other major
"I bought chicken at Rs 105 per kg against the government
rate of Rs 85, while mutton is being sold at Rs 350 per kg
against the government rate of Rs 230," Farooq Ahmad, a local
Haleema, a resident of Ali Jan road on the outskirts of
the city said she paid Rs 120 as auto fare to reach Jehangir
chowk, a distance of seven kilometres. The government rate for
the said distance is Rs 60.
Cooking gas, which has been short in supply for the last
two weeks, is being sold at Rs 700 a cylinder as against Rs
435 fixed by the government.
A distributor of Indian Oil Corporation said while
snowfall has resulted in closure of the highway, the
authorities were slack in allowing trucks carrying gas from
Jammu to Srinagar prior to the snowfall.
"Snowfall was predicted from January 14 to January 17
but the vehicles carrying our gas were still not allowed to
cross Nagrota in Jammu in the week before snowfall. We failed
to understand the logic behind the move of the authorities,"
the Jammu-based distributor said.
The divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon
yesterday claimed that there is no shortage of essential
commodities in the Valley.
An official spokesman said Samoon has ordered rationing
of LPG and directed the Oil companies to fill only five kgs in
the domestic cylinders, so that more people can be
accommodated, till the highway reopens.
The Divisional Commissioner directed concerned Deputy
Commissioners of the valley districts to conduct an extensive
tour of their areas of jurisdiction and ensure speedy
clearance of snow from the roads.
However, reports reaching from different district
headquarters and major towns of the valley said the snow
clearance was moving at a snail`s pace and most of the roads
are still snow-bound.