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Valley lost Rs 15,000 cr since Aug 5: Trade body

December 06, 2019 06:01 AM

Handicraft, tourism and e-commerce worst hit

In the four months since the abrogation of Article 370 in erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, the Valley’s economy has suffered losses amounting to Rs 15,000 crore, and the numbers could rise, a commerce body has claimed.

The Centre had repealed provisions of the article that gave special status to the erstwhile state which was bifurcated into union territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

“We will be coming up with comprehensive data about the losses within a week,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq Hussain said.

More than the losses to the economy, job loss due to clampdown on internet services, protests and strikes was more worrying, he said.

The handicraft, tourism and ecommerce sectors were the worst hit, Hussain said.

Though most restrictions have been lifted, the clampdown, which started on August 5, on internet services across all platforms and prepaid mobile phone still remains.

Postpaid connections and landlines are working in the Valley. SMS on postpaid phones are barred.

“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 job losses.

“Information Technology industry got some relief after the internet lease lines were restored but the overall trade situation is dismal,” he said.

In Kashmir, markets open earlier than usual but close down by 1 pm as part of an undeclared protest against the stripping of the erstwhile state’s special status

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