The Economic Cost
The Valley economy has suffered estimated losses of Rs 6,000 crore in past 2 months and with each day that passes under the strict restrictions the loss continue to mount, explains Zuhaib Mir
|| ZUHAIB YOUSF MIR
The political instability that has cloaked Kashmir for almost two months last has now led to serious economic implications. The uprising in the Valley has relegated the economy of Jammu and Kashmir into shrinkage with losses to hotel industry, trade, tourism, and transport sectors running into millions of rupees. This has crippled the already handicapped, unemployment ridden and flood ravaged economy of the State and rendered it to the worst form of economic slump. Traders and Industry in Jammu and Kashmir have estimated losses to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore since the beginning of the uprising on July 8 following the killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani as per the information provided by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation. Jammu itself is engulfed in the economic turmoil as many industries in the region find the market for their products in Kashmir Valley.
The collection of levies and taxes has come down drastically since the unrest begun and the state government has suffered revenue losses close to the tune of Rs 300 crore.
The reason is that the products manufactured in Jammu have natural market in Kashmir due to proximity and less competition there. The goods produced in Jammu find it difficult to compete in other states due to cost factors. As per officials, during July 2015, 26459 trucks had crossed Lower Munda however during the same period this year it has fallen to 18052 trucks. President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir, General Trade, Jan Muhammad Koul said Jammu industry and business is heavily dependent on Kashmir. In Kashmir, the problems that the industries and small business are facing are the problems of paying idle wages, power bills, interest on working capital and restriction of movement.
The development plans have completely got shelved owing to the prevailing situation in the Valley. The administration itself is under duress. “The collection of levies and taxes has come down drastically since the unrest begun. The sales tax collection has been the worst hit. Similarly, tourism, considered to be the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy, has also come to a standstill,”said an official in the finance department.
Traders and Industry in Jammu and Kashmir has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore since the beginning of the uprising on July 8 following the killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and the daily losses are to the tune of Rs 135 crore.
“The state government has suffered revenue losses to the tune of Rs 300 crore in the past one-and-a-half months”. A senior economist at Kashmir University while quoting J&K’s annual income of one Lakh crore said the losses would have already swelled beyond ten thousand crores. He said the annual income of Jammu and Kashmir is 1 lakh crore and in terms of gross state domestic product, the loss would be more than 10,000 crores. The uprising has cost dearly to the state’s economy in sectors like tourism and transportation.
“Tourist season is almost over and the income from the sector is has fallen drastically this season. If we see the net loss it would be close to Rs 3000 crores. Another major sector is transport, which has also incurred huge losses,” he said. The horticulture is another pivotal sector which has been badly hit with restrictions and lockdown causing Rs 900 crore loss to the fruit industry. “The government-imposed restrictions have adversely affected the horticulture sector as the growers are not able to bring their produce into the mandis as the trucks are not allowed to move,” chairman All Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said. “Our preliminary estimates based on the figures communicated by growers across Kashmir through our constituent members, show that in the last 50 days of unrest the industry has suffered an aggregate Rs 900 crore loss,” he said.
He however added that the losses are nothing in comparison to the loss of precious lives in the current unrest. Fruit industry is considered to be the mainstay of Kashmir economy and it contributes Rs 6,000 crore to State Gross Domestic Product. “For past few days the government forces are not even allowing fruit laden vehicles in Srinagar market which is adding to the losses,” he said, adding that the restrictions across Kashmir are also hindering the movement of growers who usually bring their produce to the designated fruit markets in their respective places from where the fruit is dispatched to outside the state markets. President, Sopore Fruit Mandi, Mushtaq Ahmad Tantray said the restrictions imposed by the authorities have hit their business badly. “Already the restrictions have taken toll on export of fruit industry.
Last year during this time we would send around 175 truckloads from this mandi to outside markets. But this year only 20 to 35 fruit laden trucks go from Sopore fruit mandi to outside,” he said, adding that forces are not even allowing the fruit growers from far flung areas to reach Sopore Fruit Mandi. Traders and Industry in Jammu and Kashmir has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore since the beginning of the uprising on July 8 following the killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and the daily losses are to the tune of Rs 135 crore. Jammu itself is engulfed in the economic turmoil as many industries in the region find the market for their products in Kashmir Valley. The reason is that the products manufactured in Jammu have natural market in Kashmir due to proximity and less competition there.