Severe shortages hit Valley as shutdown enters seventh day

June 30th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Ali G

Srinagar, June 30 (IANS) Life in the Kashmir Valley remained crippled due to a shutdown for the seventh day Monday against the forest land row even after the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) relinquished its claim on the controversial land. Severe shortages of petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas, vegetables and other foodstuffs have hit the summer capital Srinagar as supplies from outside the valley have drastically decreased because of the worsened law and order situation.

All petrol pumps in the city have stopped selling petrol and diesel to consumers as they claim their stocks have already been exhausted.

There are severe shortages of cooking gas also throughout the valley as gas retail outlets remained closed for the seventh day Monday.

Educational institutions, markets, banks and other businesses remained closed as , public transport was off the roads as well. Attendance in government offices was marginal because of non-availability of public transport in the city.

Though youths took to streets at a number of places in the old city areas burning old tyres, tensions were definitely less heightened here Monday. Adequate security measures were taken to ensure protesters were prevented from resorting to violence.

Hundreds of Hindu pilgrims to the Amarnath cave shrine continued their journey and despite the general shutdown vehicles carrying the pilgrims to and from the north Kashmir Baltal base camp plied normally.

State senior civil and police officers visited south Kashmir Pahalgam and north Kashmir Baltal base camps to supervise the arrangements for the pilgrims.

Since the SASB reverted the conduct and management of the annual pilgrimage to the state government Sunday, the administration has been geared up to ensure that the yatra proceeds peacefully and without any hindrance.

Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been made on the southern and northern routes to the Hindu holy cave to provide security to the pilgrims.

Meanwhile, the action committee constituted by the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, separatist party headed by Syed Ali Geelani and supported by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq’s moderate Hurriyat group, has said the ongoing protests would continue unless the state government passed a cabinet order formally rescinding its earlier order that had allotted 40 hectares of forest to the SASB in the Baltal area.

The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have also demanded the rescinding of the land allotment order in black and white by the state government.

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