Asia’s 2nd largest fruit mandi at Sopore in shambles
Asia’s second largest fruit mandi situated in north Kashmir’s Sopore area is lacking official attention with traders continuously facing number of problems.
According to traders as much as Rs 2,500 crore fruit business is being carried out in the mandi every year. “However, the lack of infrastructure is creating immense hardships to the growth of business as it prevents the foreign buyers to come to the mandi,”
Established in 1988 on 372 kanals on the outskirts here, considered to be the biggest fruit market in Jammu Kashmir, the mandi has recorded Rs 2500 crore business last year but the fruit growers and dealers alleged that the state government has failed to pay any attention towards upgrading its infrastructure.
Ghulam Rasool, fruit grower said that, the mandi has been neglected by the state government over the years. “We are not begging for anything but demanding something
which is our right. Despite horticulture being the backbone of the state economy, government has totally neglected this sector which is reflected by the state of this mandi,” he further added There is dearth of auction platforms in the market. Present platforms can accommodate only a few growers to auction their fruit while as there are thousands of traders here.
Sukhjeet Singh, Driver said, “There is no accommodation facility for the drivers coming from outside to this mandi. Atleast here should be adequate accommodation facilities for us” When it comes to facilities and infrastructure, this mandi is far behind any other fruit mandi in the country.
Abdul Rashid, local labour said,The fruit growers complained about lack of water supply facility in the mandi. The mandi has no separate water supply scheme despite the fact that every day 20,000 to 30,000 people visit here when it is peak season “Instead of providing the mandi with a separate scheme, water is being supplied through plastic tanks.
While this mandi is known throughout Asia, it does not have proper cold storage facility. “The lack of cold storage facility forces the traders to sell their produce at cheaper rates,” the growers said. “We have no alternative than to sell our fruit whatever returns we get, as we don’t have cold storage facility here,they added
When the reporter tried to contact horticulture department they did’nt responded the repated calls.