Curfew on most stretches of the Jammu-Srinagar highway since Monday has severely affected movement of trucks carrying essential goods to the Kashmir Valley.
About 300 trucks were stuck in Jammu till Wednesday afternoon because of the volatile situation in the Valley, following the ‘Muzaffarabad Chalo’ campaign.
This is the first time in 13 years that long stretches of the 294 km highway are under curfew.
Although the army and the police are escorting trucks carrying essential items to the Kashmir Valley, unloading goods has been adversely affected by the curfew.
“We can offer security but we cannot unload the trucks,” said an army official posted in Udhampur.
Principal Secretary (Home) Anil Goswami and Director General of Police Kuldip Khoda admitted that truckers were hesitant to enter the Valley because of the curfew and a sense of insecurity.
Goswami said, "A truck laden with medicines was seen returning to Jammu as the driver had sensed some trouble due to imposition of curfew.”
He however said traffic officials followed the trucker and persuaded him to proceed to Srinagar.
Goswami said about 50 trucks bound for Srinagar were also seen returning to Jammu. Farooq Ahmad, whose truck was loaded with poultry, said: “I am not sure whether I can venture out to Baramulla.”
The north Kashmir town was the scene of massive protests on Monday and Ahmad is worried because his wares are perishable.
K. Rajendra, Inspector General of Police, Jammu zone, admitted that 300 trucks were waiting in Jammu and more are arriving from the Lakhanpur gateway to the state.
“Because of the curfew, the vehicles, including 100 oil tankers, were not allowed to move further,” he said.
Governor NN Vohra said on television on Tuesday evening that the “prevailing unrest was based on unfounded suspicions and misconceptions.”