Kashmiri traders, industries seek economic package to revive businesses

Image Source : PTI Kashmiri traders, industries seek economic package to revive businesses (Representative image)

Local traders and industries of Kashmir Wednesday demanded a comprehensive economic package to revive businesses in the union territory, saying they have suffered losses since August last year.

On August 5, the Centre had revoked Article 370 of the Constitution under which the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was granted a special status.

“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. We brought into their notice the challenges being faced by the business community in Kashmir,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Aashiq said here.

“We were expecting good results from the meetings, the outbreak of COIVD-19 has spoiled it,” he added.

The KCCI president was speaking at a joint press conference of over 30 trade and business organisations including from manufacturing and tourism sectors.

He demanded a comprehensive package for the revival of the business in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“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 that a comprehensive package for revival of businesses must be announced,” he said.

However, Aashiq said the special package of Rs 20 lakh crore announced by the Central government recently would not suffice the business community of Kashmir.

“Although the businesses have suffered across the country, our economic suffering is different from rest of the India. Many of our businesses do not fall in the guidelines of the post Covid package that the Centre has announced,” he said.

The package is only for those who have suffered losses in last two months, while the businessmen in Kashmir are facing the losses for last ten months, the KCCI president explained.

“Our businessmen are struggling to keep their bank accounts standard. There is a liquidity crunch here,” he said.

Referring to the suspension of high-speed 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir, Ashiq said the students have been badly affected as the high-speed internet service is a vital tool.

“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,” he said.

Speaking at the presser, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) vice chairman Iqbal Ahmad said the valley has witnessed 3,000 days of lockdown in over two decades.

“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.

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