Floods sweep this young businessman’s dream venture

For 35-year-old Bemina shopkeeper Amin Rather, there has been no succor in sight ever since his shop at Owaisabad Bemina was devastated by the floods last year.
Floods sweep this young businessman’s dream venture
File Photo

For 35-year-old Bemina shopkeeper Amin Rather, there has been no succor in sight ever since his shop at Owaisabad Bemina was devastated by the floods last year. 

Father of two, the first generation businessman in his clan, a visibly sulked Rather has been unable to put together pieces of life thrown out of gear by the floods.

Rather was running a mobile accessories, stationery and electronic goods business since 2008 until the deluge swept away his dream venture! This also included his latest foray into sales of air ticketing. 

"I could not save goods worth even a rupee and have been unable to put my business back on track. I started my business from scratch but 100 per cent of it was damaged including the shop infrastructure," Rather said.

After being marooned for two weeks, Rather and his family were rescued from their home by the army, he says. 

His shop remained under water destroying goods worth lakhs of rupees. 

A year after the floods, Rather is a broken man since rebuilding process including opting for a loan is a far off cry for him.

"I don't own any property to mortgage and neither have a government employee to be as guarantor for a loan. There is no source which can help me restart a business," Rather said.

The financial crunch has literally created a deep hole in Rather's pocket for whom even managing the school fee for his children is becoming a burden. 

Incessant phone calls from his children's school forced Rather to sell off his wife's gold ornaments to pay off the school fees. "Before floods there used to be computers and laptops in my shop but now I am left with one borrowed laptop. I used to have two sales persons at my shop but both left as the business went bust and I could not afford to continue them," Rather said.

While recollecting the civil strife of 2008 and 2010, Rather says he didn't face any loss due to the shutdowns but the floods changed the course of his life. 

A disillusioned Rather says his personal life is completely disturbed and it has been affecting even his two kids.

"The financial stress is even forcing me to contemplate taking my children out of school," he said. 

Despite joining several agitations and often being a part of demonstrations of shopkeepers demanding compensation, Rather has been unable to 'seek justice' which according to him is a 'full and final compensation from the government'.

Talking to Greater Kashmir on the sidelines of a demonstration held by shopkeepers and artisans on Friday, an agitated yet helpless Rather draws a comparison between the way the central government handled the aftermath of Kashmir floods and that of in Uttarakhand. A pensive Rather says the only ray of hope for him to put business back on track is possible only after receiving some kind of government compensation. 

"While Uttrakhand received compensation in just 15 days, we are awaiting a helping hand for last one year," he adds. 

While Rather's business was badly hit by the floods, he thanks heavens for saving his entire family.  

"As soon the flood waters gushed into our locality, I was worried about my shop but my first priority was to ensure safety of my family," he says. 

One year of tedious wait for a government compensation and business moving at snail's pace has been unable to deter Rather's spirit who is leaving no stone unturned to bounce back after facing the wrath of nature's fury a year ago.

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