With the COVID19 lockdown severely hitting businesses and livelihood in Kashmir, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir (CCIK) Sunday sought government’s intervention to help revive the economy.
President CCIK, Ghulam Mohidin Khan said that the lockdown has severely hit the micro, small and medium enterprises, small businesses and livelihoods.
He said Kashmir businesses were hit since 5 August 2019 and thus it has been now 10 months that Kashmir was without any trade and business activity.
He said the backbone of Kashmir economy, the tourism industry, has been badly hit and people associated with it have suffered immensely.
“All sections of community including artisans, labourers, shopkeepers, transporters, daily-wagers have been hit during these ten months,” he said.
The CCIK suggested several measures for revival of economy in Kashmir. “Government must realize that almost every industry is dependent on bank loans. Every borrower has to pay interest to the bank. The moratorium on repayment of loans is not going to help; we demand complete interest waiver on loans for the lockdown period since August 2019,” Khan said.
He said CCIK also seeks restoration of high speed 4G internet services in Kashmir. “In absence of high speed internet, every section of society including tourism, media, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, students and others suffer,” he said.
He said 70% of the students enrolled in private educational institutions belong to middle class families. “The private school managements must realize present situation and apply their mind to the prevailing circumstances. Government must issue an order directing the schools to waive off the fee for at least three months,” he said, adding that how a parent, who is a shopkeeper, daily-wager, private employee, transporter, etc. can pay the fee of their children when they did not earn anything during this period.
Moreover, the schools have no justification to demand the fee for the period they were closed like any other business in Kashmir, he said.
CCIK also demanded government to take all measures for return of all Kashmiris stranded in other states or aboard.
“We also demand that authorities must carry macadamization of dilapidated roads and repair pothole. Such works should be taken up in Srinagar on priority,” Khan said.
The CCIK lauded the efforts of COVID warriors and said that medical fraternity, municipality, Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Consumer Affairs and ration distribution and other relevant emergency agencies provided uninterrupted services to the people.
CCIK also appealed to all the traders dealing in essential commodities not to resort to profiteering and sell products on reasonable rates.
“In present time, we have to be united, adhere to guidelines and defeat the coronavirus collectively,” Khan said.