After 9 years, Rs 35 crore fruit terminal project in Bijbehara made functional

Terminal lacks facilities: Traders

It is a trail run, will get all facilities till June next year: Director HP&M

Srinagar, Nov 09 : After nine years since the foundation stone of much hyped state of the art fruit terminal was laid Rs 35 crore fruit terminal was finally made functional in Bijbehara

Many traders and growers of the area thanked Director Horticulture and Planning J&K for his efforts in making the terminal functional on which the work was on halt for years.

The traders, however, said that despite the terminal has been made functional there is still a lack of basic facilities like property drinking water facilities, electricity facilities and toilet facilities.

Many growers also complained that authorities should have completed the project at least two months before as now most of the apples have already reached markets outside J&K.

“There are just 10 to 20 percent apples in Kashmir. What is fun about opening this terminal so late. Authorities should have given more time to the terminal to make all facilities available before the start of next fruit season,” the traders said.

“We were promised that the market will have 600 shops, market yards, weighing bridge, administrative block, bank, post office, cold storage and other facilities but as of now the terminal lacks most of these facilities,” they said.

They requested authorities to allot shops while priority must be given to locals.

“The planning and marketing wing of the Horticulture department has even received a contribution of Rs 1 lakh each from over 1000 traders and growers for allotting them space but on ground we haven’t got any relief,” they said.

“We request LG Manoj Sinha, and director Horticulture Planning and Marketing to personally look into the matter and complete the project at an earliest so that we can heave a sigh of relief,” the traders said.

The project was announced in the year 2013 with an aim to attract top fruit growers from the country and with an estimated cost of Rs 35 crore. The foundation stone was laid by then Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of J&K Omar Abdullah and 440 kanals of land were notified for it.

Vishesh Paul Mahajan Director Horticulture Planning and Marketing J&K while talking with KNO said that work on Jablipora Bijbehara fruit terminal is going on full swing and it will be completed before next fruit season.

“It is just a trail run. There were repeated requests from the growers and they have been asked to vacate the terminal before 31 December,” Mahajan said.

“Very soon the terminal will get water and electricity facilities, the fencing work is also being taken up but we have to wait for the macadamisation process till summer next year,” Mahajan said.

He said the earlier government had notified 440 kanals for the fruit terminal but at present there are just 298 kanals of land available as rest of the land has been used by the government for other purposes.

“We were thinking of providing around 800 to 900 shops to traders but now around 150 kanals of land has been utilized for some other purposes, so less shops will be allocated and some facilities will also be altered. But we are working on how to handle the issue and are sure it will be functional next season,” he said—(KNO)