Kashmiri traders and industries are awaiting a comprehensive economic package to revive the businesses, as they aim to unlock the shops after 10 months, since the scrapping of the Article 370 that gave a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The companies in Kashmir have suffered heavy losses since August 5, last year. As the lockdown is being eased across the country, the local traders and industries in Kashmir are seeking the package to get things back on track.
“Our businesses are suffering for the last ten months and we have never come out of the lockdown. We met the Union Home Minister, Union Finance minister and Minister of State Prime Minister’s Office regarding the losses faced by the traders,” said Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Aashiq.
“We brought into their notice the challenges being faced by the business community in Kashmir. We were expecting good results from the meetings, the outbreak of COIVD-19 has spoiled it,” he added.
Speaking at a joint press conference of over 30 trade and business organisations, the KCCI President demanded a comprehensive package to revive the businesses in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking about the current situation, the KCCI President said, “Now that the people are talking about unlocking businesses, we thought it is better to remind the Centre and UT administration that this is the right time to announce a comprehensive package.”
Commenting on the special package of Rs 20 lakh crore announced by the Central government, Aashiq said, “Although the businesses have suffered across the country, our economic suffering is different from rest of India. Many of our businesses do not fall in the guidelines of the post Covid package that the Centre has announced.”
“The package is only for those who have suffered losses in the last two months, while the businessmen in Kashmir are facing the losses from the last ten months. Our businessmen are struggling to keep their bank accounts standard. There is a liquidity crunch here,” he further added.
The high-speed 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir have remained suspended since August 5, 2019. Referring to the event, Ashiq said, “The restoration of 4G internet services seems a far off dream. Our students are suffering. The nation can’t go forward without education, which has got badly affected in Jammu and Kashmir.”
On the other hand, the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) vice-chairman Iqbal Ahmad also shared his views regarding the economic package. “Whenever the valley witnessed lockdown, the business fraternity got badly affected. Since 1999, Kashmir has witnessed 3,000 days of lockdown. We do deserve an economic package,” he said.