Bandhs, Curfews Hit J&K Economy

10 July 2009
Daily News & Analysis

Srinagar: Frequent strikes and curfews have plunged the fledgling economy of Kashmir into a deep crisis. Kashmir Inc has suffered a loss of over Rs300 crore since May 30 when anger swept across the Valley over the rape and murder of two women in Shopian. Wholesaler Fayaz Ahmad (name changed), 38, sells vegetable oil and sugar worth Rs1.5 lakh a day for a net profit varying between Rs5,000 and Rs8,000.But after the frequent bandhs and curfews, he is thinking shifting base from old city to a safer locality where he could operate smoothly. 'I have lost count of the financial loss I have suffered. I am ruined, literally,' he said. Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) figures reveal Valley traders and businessmen lose around Rs100 crore every day furing every bandh or curfew. 'There have been at least 30 days of bandh-curfew since the Shopian incident. We suffer a loss of Rs100 crore a day due to strikes and curfews,' KCCI president Mubeen Shah said. The chamber claims there have been strikes and curfews on 2,000 days in the last 20 years of turmoil. 'We have had 1,365 days of strikes and curfews in the eight years, starting 1990, alone,' Shah said. Police figures reveal from 1990 to 2007, Kashmir observed a hartal on 1,471 days (almost four years), costing it thousands of crores of rupees in losses, besides badly affecting students' education. 'Our counterparts in Jammu say they suffered a loss of Rs10,000 crore during the 100-day agitation last year. If we apply the same yardstick we may have lost Rs2 lakh crore in the 2,000 days of strike and curfew,' Shah said.