Tourism, trade, horticulture sectors worst hit, 15,000 salesmen lose jobs due to closure of shops in Sgr, A single day of business shutdown costs Kashmir Rs 150 crore a day, say industrialists
Srinagar, Sep 02 (KNO) : As the uncertainty prevails across Kashmir for almost a month now in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (UTs), the Valley is witnessing one of the worst ever economic crisis with major industries that include tourism, trade and horticulture registering huge losses.
Traders and industrialists told KNO that Kashmir is facing worst economic breakdown in the decades as loss figure is so high and initial estimates of losses can be gauged from the fact that each day of business closure in Kashmir costs losses to the tune of Rs 150 crore a day.
“This is specifically about Trade losses. In Tourism, losses are in millions and as far as horticulture sector is concerned, fruit including apple ,pear, cherry, has been rotting since past almost a month due to the absence of proper transportation,” Aijaz Ahmed Dar, an industrialist told KNO.
A member of Lal Chowk traders association said that in the major markets of Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Moulana Azad Road, Hari Singh High Street, Aftab Market, Maisuma, Jehangir Chowk and Batamaloo, at least 15,000 salesmen were earning their livelihood. “This is a biggest tragedy and irony,” he told KNO, wishing not to be named.
Abdul Jabbar Khanday, a fruit grower from South Kashmir’s Shopian district told KNO that government claims about providing adequate transport services for transporting fruit crop especially pear and apple turned out to be fake as only a few vehicles were available for us to transport the crop.
“Our fruit worth crores especially apple and pear which have short shelf life, got damaged due to fungus as we don’t have cold storage facility on modern lines,” Khanday told KNO. He said it was difficult at this stage to count the exact figure of losses that the growers have suffered due to the prevailing uncertainty.
“But the losses to the fruit industry in Kashmir would be in crores. I personally suffered a loss of Rs 45 lakh. Last season, I transported the fruit worth Rs 38 lakh. This year despite having more produce, we couldn’t transport the fruit crop due to the absence of proper transport,” he said.
As far the tourism, the tour operators blame government for issuing an advisory on August 1 that asked tourists to leave Kashmir immediately, as the major reason for leaving the tourism industry almost defunct.
“At least 2500 hotels are empty. We have already fired the staff and have locked our hotels everywhere so have our colleagues,” Sirajudin Bhat, who owns a chain of hotels in Srinagar, Pahalgam and Sonmarg told KNO. Similarly, transport sector too has borne the brunt of uncertainty triggered by the scrapping of article 370 and bifurcation of state into two UTs on August 5.
Even though the relaxations are almost everywhere in Kashmir, but public transport continues to remain off the roads. Same is the case with the education sector. Despite government’s efforts to open all schools across the region, students prefer not to attend their classes (KNO)