Uncertainty followed by lockdowns since August last year has incurred an estimated Rs 40,000 crore losses to Kashmir’s economy and forced over one lakh job cuts in the private sector during this period.
As per preliminary loss assessment report of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Kashmir’s economy has suffered a whopping Rs 40,000 crore losses mainly due to extension of lockdowns which Kashmir facing since August 2019 when the central government in parliament revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, taking away its exclusive domicile provisions.
In November last year, the Kashmir’s apex business chamber had come up with the sector wise loss estimates caused due to lockdown and uncertainty which followed the central government’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status. According to that estimate, the losses reported were pegged at Rs 18,000 crore in 2019 from August to November 2019.
“Kashmir has been virtually under lockdown since August 2019 when the special status of J&K was diluted. We had minuscule number of working days after August 2019 which was followed by lockdown due to Corona virus scare which is still in force. As a consequence of these events our economy has incurred a loss of Rs 40,000 crore so far and its yet not know how much quantum of losses would further increase in future,” said president KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq.
“ Last year, KCCI had come up with detailed segment wise estimation of losses, this time too we will come up with figures, but only when the situation normalizes as we don’t know how long the lockdown will continue,” he said adding that “ so far as per the preliminary loss assessment report of KCCI, Kashmir’s economy has incurred Rs 40,000 crore losses so far and more than one lakh youth have lost job losses during a period of eleven months since August 2019.”
“ Every segment of the economy is bleeding losses due to this situation and therefore it is imperative on part of the government along with financial institutions to come forward in order mitigate sufferings of the business community,” he said.
Meanwhile, the tourism and transport sectors are the worst hit by the situation in Kashmir since last year.
“Our vehicles are off roads since August 2019. Imagine the plight of 1.5 lakh people affiliated with the transport sector. We are reeling under financial miseries, some of our members have been forced to do menial jobs to feed their families,” said General Secretary, Kashmir Transporters Welfare union, Muhammad Yusuf.
“ We have not received a single penny from government neither the authorities seem to be in mood to help transporters in Kashmir,” he said.
Same is the situation with the tourism sector, though the government has announced reopening of tourism sector from July 14, the stakeholders say in view of pandemic COVID they don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
“ At best it is a joke with the tourism stakeholders, rather than helping us financially by announcing special package from tourism sector, the decision to reopen tourism sector in this situation is nothing but a cruel joke,” said secretary general, JK Hoteliers Club, Tariq Rashid Ghani.
Meanwhile, the State’s Taxes department too has forecasted a dip in revenue collection from the Union territory of J&K in this quarter. A senior official said “ there is drastic decline in imports due to the present situation.