Srinagar: The 84-day lockdown in Kashmir has cost the region’s economy more than Rs 10,000 crore, in three months, as per a trade body. As the deadlock in Kashmir, after the Centre announced the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, completed 84 days on Sunday, the business community is left in a lurch.
Though the restrictions have been lifted, main markets continued to remain shut and public transport off the roads.
“The running business losses for Kashmir region have crossed Rs 10,000 crore and all sectors have been severely hit. It has been nearly three months now and yet the people are not doing business because of the prevailing situation. There has been some activity in the recent weeks, but the feedback that we are getting is that the business is dull,” Sheikh Ashiq, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) told PTI.
Ashiq attributed the the suspension of internet services as the reason behind the losses. Stressing that the basic need of any business is access to internet, he stated that development of the valley has come to a standstill post the lockdown. Ashiq further said that Rs 2,000 crore worth of development projects have been pushed back because the workforce has left the valley.
“If we take the handicraft sector, people associated with the trade receive orders in July-August and have to deliver the products around Christmas and New Year. When they can implement these orders, only then would they be served. There is no connectivity, so there were no orders resulting in loss of jobs to over 50,000 artisans and weavers,” he said.
The lockdown is also about to create a job crisis as several IT companies are on the verge of closing their shutters, leaving scores of youth jobless.
The KCCI president said the government should own responsibility for the losses and take steps to mitigate the sufferings of the traders. He also urged the government to come out with various measures like certain packages for the business community in the prevailing circumstances.
(With Agency inputs)