When the central government decided to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status granted under Article 370 and divide it into two parts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that the move will open new doors of "development" in the state. However, as per the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), instead of bringing "development", the economy of Kashmir has suffered losses of Rs 15,000 crore since August 5, when the government announced the Article 370 move.
"Our conservative estimates put the losses to the Kashmir economy due to the situation after August 5 at Rs 15,000 crore. We will be coming up with comprehensive data about the losses within a week," news agency PTI quoted Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq Hussain as saying.
Not just the losses in economy, the move has also resulted in job loss due to clampdown on internet services, protests and strikes. The handicraft, tourism and e-commerce sectors, which were flourishing before the Centre’s move, were the worst hit, Hussain said.
Though most restrictions have been lifted, the clampdown on internet services, which started on August 5, across all platforms and prepaid mobile phone is still in place with no hopes of it being restored anytime soon.
"The handicraft sector alone has witnessed over 50,000 people losing their jobs. The artisans were not getting any fresh orders in the absence of communication facilities…. Even, the highly skilled artisans have been forced to look for odd jobs to meet their daily needs," he said.
Hussain claimed that the hotel and restaurant industry has seen more than 30,000 people losing their jobs. The e-commerce sector, which includes courier services for purchases made online, has seen 10,000 people losing their jobs, the KCCI president said. "The Information Technology industry got some relief after the internet lease lines were restored for this sector but the overall situation of trade in Kashmir is dismal," he added.
In Kashmir, markets open earlier than usual but close down by 1 pm as part of an undeclared protest programme against the stripping of the erstwhile state’s special status. The tourism sector suffered the most as the J-K government issued an advisory to all non-locals, including tourists, to leave the Valley ahead of the August 5 announcement. Though the advisory was revoked, tourists have by and large stayed away from Kashmir, even though there was early snowfall in Kashmir this November, which is a major attraction.
(With PTI inputs)