Tragedy of Kashmir- When Businesses in Pulwama Opened for 5 Minutes After Eight Days

December 22

Zaffar Dar

The frequent shutdowns and restrictions have caused a tremendous loss to the business fraternity in Kashmir, as the valley has been on the edge since decades.

Sources told The Kashmiriyat that the markets in Pulwama town had opened after a span of eight days post the killing of ten people in the Sirnoo area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama District. “After eight days of continuous shutdown against the Pulwama Killings, We did not open our shops for even five minutes and the news of an encounter in Tral reached to us, so we shut down our shops yet again,” Adil Rashid, a trader from Pulwama told The Kashmiriyat.

Among the worst affected are street vendors and transporters. Dependent on daily earnings, they have lost all or most of their savings and many have been compelled to look for other avenues of income.

Abdul Rashid, a shopper from Pulwama said, “On good days, I earn Rs 15,000 to 20,000 a month. But for the last three months, I have hardly earned and have managed to survive on my savings.”

Struggling to earn a living, many of the businessmen are planning to move out from their small towns to bigger cities, as South Kashmir has been on the brink of new age Militancy which erupted after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the region often remains disturbed due to frequent Internet bans, shutdowns, Search Operations and Restrictions.

In a statement issued by the Finance Minister in early 2017, he said that Jammu Kashmir suffered losses to the tune of over Rs. 16,000 crore during the five-month long civilian uprising in the Kashmir Valley after the killing of Burhan Wani on July 08, 2016.

“Losses caused due to the unrest from July 8 to November 30, 2016 are estimated at more than Rs. 16,000 crore,” Economic Survey 2016 report tabled by Minister for Finance Haseeb Drabu in the Jammu Kashmir Assembly stated.

The Business fraternity of Kashmir has been also demanding an end to scrapping down of the internet services for long spells. “Hartals, bandhs, stone pelting, curfews and restrictions immobilize life in all the 10 districts of the Valley,” a report published in 2017 stated.

According the media reports Hotels in Kashmir have only 10 to 15% occupancy as compared to around 40%occupancy during 2017.

According to another media report, the internet subscribers in the valley loses around Rs 2.5 crore every day due to internet shutdown and during 2012-2017 the Kashmir economy has lost Rs 4000 crore due to frequent suspension of internet services.