- On August 5, Center had announced the abrogation of article 370 which lead to shutdown of main markets and public transport.
- It has been 84 days since the government made the announcement. The shutdown of markets forgave resulted in loss of Rs.10,000 crore.
- The development projects worth Rs.2,000 crore have been put to hold due to shutdown.
The shutdown in Kashmir, due to scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, has crippled the valley’s economy as the business community has incurred a loss of Rs.10,000 crore in three months.
The deadlock in the valley, after the government made an announcement of abrogation of article 370, on 5th August completed 84 days on Sunday. The scrapping of article of the constitution giving special status to the valley lead to shutdown of main markets and public transport off the roads.
Some shops open for a couple of hours in morning and late in the evening in certain areas, that include Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
Sheikh Ashiq, the president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KCCI), told while it was difficult to evaluate the nature of losses as the situation hasn’t normalized yet, the business community has received a serious jolt which will be very difficult to recover.
“The losses incurred by the operating businesses in Kashmir have crossed Rs.10,000 crore as it has been three months of shutdown in the valley. All the sectors have been severely hit due to prevailing situation in Kashmir. There has been some activity in the recent weeks, but the feedback that we are receiving is that business is dull,”Ashiq told.
He identified the suspension of internet services as the main factor for the losses.
“In today’s times the basic necessity of any business is the internet which is missing on the ground. We have conveyed it to the governor’s administration that the businesses will suffer in Kashmir, the economy will weaken which will have to bare huge consequences in the longer run,” he said.
Giving examples of several sectors, Ashiq said the IT sector was an upcoming sector and there are companies which were providing services in USA, Europe and their business have been affected by the suspension of internet facilities.
“If we take the handicraft sector into consideration, people associated with the trade receive orders in July-August and have to deliver the products during Christmas and New Year. There is no connectivity, so there were no orders that resulted in loss of jobs of over 5,000 artisans and weavers,”he said.
The president of KCCI said the government should hold the responsibility of the losses and take steps to alleviate the sufferings of the traders in the valley.
“This is not about the losses incurred in the business but also about facing technical issues like GST, online returns to name a few. We are not falling under certain guidelines because we are missing them. So there should be a system for these things under the system.”
He further stated that the development of the valley has come to standstill.
“We had development projects amounting to Rs 2,000 crore that have been delayed because the workforce has left the valley. Now, we have to assure them like tourists, and it will take time,” he said.
The president of KCCI said it is the responsibility of the government to come out with various measures to stabilize the business community in the prevailing situations.
Asked about the detention of some business leaders, he said it was unfortunate and believed that businesses in the valley will not be politicized.
He said the KCCI has taken up the release of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation(KTMF) president Mohammad Yasin Khan, whose mother had expired a couple of days back. ” At least, he should be released on humanitarian grounds.”
He said the business community in Kashmir was not against investments outside the valley and the industry would always put their best foot forward in inviting foreign investors.
“We are not against investments, but we have not been taken on board on anything about some people wanting to invest here. It was the government’s endeavor even before the New Delhi took his decision on Article 370 to get the investments,” said KCCI president.