Business establishments in and around Srinagar's City Centre LalChowk remained shut on Tuesday in response to a call by a traders' body against the J&K government's "failure" to rehabilitate the Valley's flood-hit businessmen. The shutdown, called by a faction of the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), evoked partial response.
The business establishments in various markets in and around LalChowk remained closed for the day. The traders from main Srinagar markets—barring those from old city areas—responded positively to the call. However it had a limited impact on traffic movement as passenger vehicles were seen plying on roads normally. The shutdown call also had a little impact in various district headquarters, witnesses and locals said.
The KTMF faction led by Bashir Ahmad Rather had called for a shutdown to protest the state and central government's "failure" to rehabilitate the flood-affected business community.
"We are thankful to people, particularly the business community of Kashmir, for making our shutdown call a success. It shows the anger among people of the summer capital who, more than a year after the devastating floods, have been denied compensation for the losses they suffered in the deluge," Rather told Greater Kashmir.
He said the mainstream politicians, for almost 16 months, have been politicizing the rehabilitation of flood victims "for their petty gains."
"But it is traders who are at the receiving end. The state government had sought Rs 19241 crore as rehabilitation package for the flood-hit business community, but what we got is Rs 800 crore as interest subvention which is a cruel joke," he said.
The KTMF would continue with its fight and strive for the genuine rights of the traders, he said.
He said the move to provide interest subvention instead of compensation reveals the "hidden agenda of the government which only wants to provide financial assistance to big traders who have already got the insurance amount."
"But this interest subvention won't be of any help to small traders who have no bank loans against them," he said.
He warned the government that the traders "would take extreme steps if it does not take our demands seriously."
Another faction of KTMF led by Muhammad Yasin Khan had stayed away from the strike call, saying the business community was yet to get "any formal response from the government on rehabilitation of traders."