Kashmir Inc: ‘Royals Enjoying Golf, Shopkeepers Behind Bars’

Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday slammed government over indefinite lockdown of business establishments in the Valley, especially Srinagar terming it as a serious infringement on the rights of the business community to earn a livelihood.

In a hard hitting statement issued here, a KCCI spokesperson said that despite full cooperation of public and the business community, the administration appeared to be running around in circles since the previous five months and seem oblivious to the fact that the business community of Kashmir is presently in the 13th month of a disruption which has wiped out enterprises and devastated the economy.

Comparing Kashmir’s Covid-19 situation with Mumbai, the KCCI spokesperson said that the India’s business capital has 5.35 lac COVID-19 cases and a daily average of 1700 new cases but despite it the state has entered unlock 3.0 phase.

Quoting figures, the KCCI spokesperson said the Mumbai has a population of over 2 crore living in an area of 603 sq km as compared to Srinagar’s population of around 17 lakhs in an area of 294 sq km; six times higher population density of 33,168 persons per sq km as compared to 5,782 persons per sq km in Srinagar.

Divulging further details, he said on August 3, the BMC has allowed all shops – essential and non-essential – to open all day except in containment zones. He said only theatres, food courts, in-house dining in restaurants, bars and gaming zones, street vendors and hawkers, continue to be prohibited.

“There are currently around 700 containment zones in Mumbai but unlike in Srinagar, they mostly consist of individual buildings and slums,” the KCCI spokesperson said.

“Here, the administration cannot be bothered to stop tweeting and identify individual houses. They simply barbwire-off entire neighbourhoods, if not the entire districts,” he added.

The KCCI spokesperson said that with six times the population density, gradual opening of business establishments and the population being allowed much more movement, the infection rate of around 2.65 percent not been seen as a very successful operation but speaks volumes about the intent of the Maharashtra Government to provide avenues of livelihood and it’s concern for the welfare of the public.

Hitting out at the government over the alleged grievous dereliction in proper utilisation of the earlier stages of lockdowns to strategize and prepare for the unlocking phase, the KCCI spokesperson said that DDMA funds have been spent on purchase of barriers despite Kashmir having the highest inventory of barriers including barbed wires available.

“The prices of critical medical equipment including oxygen concentrators has skyrocketed without any system of checks and balances in place. Butchers are hauled in for selling meat at meagerly higher prices but no attention is being paid to regulate the prices of these essentials and critical medical equipment,” the KCCI spokesperson said.


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