January 2018 News

Non-locals Take Away Major Chunk Of Jobs In Kashmir

1 January 2018
Rising Kashmir
Sameer Showkin Lone

Srinagar: Even as unemployment level has increased in Kashmir the non-locals are doing most of the jobs here and have turned to shop keeping and vending as well. Most of the workforce of carpenters, painters and masons is now being provided by outsiders. In Lal Chowk non-locals could be seen running vends as well as working as salesmen. The trend raises questions on whether Kashmiri youth are only looking at government jobs as means of employment. At Sarai-Bala, near the Dastageer Sahab shrine, almost every stall owner is a non local. A non-local vendor said that he earns 2 to 2.5 lakh in winter season in a span of six months by selling groundnuts and corn. ' I pay in advance a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh to the person who provides peanuts. If you don't pay the amount early you would not get the stock in time. I am satisfied with the job,' said a peanut seller, Saleem Muhammad, a Lucknow resident. Like Saleem there are 'thousands of others who sell guava, pine apples and other eatables on stalls'. Several surveys reveal the unemployment among the educated youth in Jammu and Kashmir has touched new heights with lakhs of candidates applying for a few thousand posts advertised by recruitment agencies. Though the government under various schemes and flagship programs provides entrepreneurship opportunities to the local youth most of these programs have failed to interest the youth. Experts term conflict the main reason that pushes the Kashmiri youth to only look for government jobs. A noted columnist, Muhammad Ashraf, said there are many reasons for this 'clamor for government jobs at all levels.' 'Kashmir has been facing a situation of uncertainty right from 1947. This atmosphere of uncertainty has become worse in last 20 years or so. The uncertainty has prevented outside investment in various fields in Kashmir. Before 1990 there were still some big houses interested in setting up industries especially in food and agriculture sector, but the investments have dried up,' he said. Muhammad Shafi, an industrialist, said government has been very slow in 'tapping youth towards productive employment generating sectors including commercial floriculture, fisheries, forest, horticulture and agriculture based industries.' Tourism players say youth or the 'new comers are apprehensive to invest in this sector as tourism is universally known as a peace time activity.'