Early Times Report
Srinagar, Dec 5: Kashmir's economy has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore since August 5 when the government scrapped the provisions of Article 370, a commerce body has claimed, saying that this is just a "conservative estimate".
The Centre had repealed provisions of the article that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
"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," Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq Hussain told 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 e-commerce sectors were the worst hit by the situation post the Centre's decision, Mr Hussain said.
Though most restrictions have been lifted, the clampdown, which started on August 5, on internet services across all platforms and prepaid mobile connections, still remains.
Postpaid connections and landlines are functioning in the valley. SMS on postpaid connections are however not functioning.
"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.
Mr Hussain claimed that the hotel and restaurant industry has seen more than 30,000 job losses. The e-commerce sector, which includes courier services for purchases made online, has seen 10,000 people losing their jobs, he 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 said.
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Though the advisory was revoked, tourists have by and large stayed away from Kashmir, even though there was early snowfall in Kashmir this November, which is a major attraction.