Saturday, July 2News That Matters

Apples continue to be stolen in Shopian, this time a truckload of them

Shopian: A new menace, theft of apple boxes, which earlier was rarely seen by apple growers and traders in Kashmir, is now being reported frequently in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Since the advent of autumn season, more than a dozen such incidents have happened in the district, with hundreds of apple boxes being stolen by unknown thieves during night hours.
A driver from Vehil area of Shopian is the latest victim of these burglaries. More than 600 loaded apple boxes were stolen from his truck during the night last week.
He reported the incident to the local police but already several such cases are pending with the thieves yet to be caught or even identified.
On the night of 28-29 December, 450 apple boxes were stolen from Ramnagri village. Similar incidents earlier took place in Imam Sahib area, Balpora and other villages of Shopian.
Shopian district is predominantly dependent on the horticulture sector, particularly apple, so the thefts are a matter of great concern, especially as even in winters the thefts are continuing.
Not only packed apple boxes at some villages, even empty boxes have been stolen from orchards or from near roadsides.
Tariq Ahmad Bhat, a local from Trenz area, said that since the region’s apple witnessed good rates this year, the incidents of stealing of apple boxes increased in the district. “If a thief steals 100 boxes from an orchard, he gets one lakh rupees in hand without taking pains of growing or preparing it, but on the other hand the orchardists gets devastated when all of his year’s hard work goes to waste,” he said.
Tariq’s 850 empty wooden apple boxes were stolen at the beginning of the harvest season and no trace of them has since been found.
Bilal Ahmad, another local, said that the government should act to nab such burglars. “We several times saw on social media that apple boxes were stolen from this and that place, but never heard that any thief was caught by police,” he said.

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