SRINAGAR — Kashmir economy has borne the brunt of three back to back lockdowns since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, resulting in the loss of whopping Rs 45000 Crore. The month-long lockdown from April 30 to May 30 this year alone has caused a loss of Rs 5000 crore. This has been revealed by figures worked out by the trade bodies of Kashmir.
According to the Kashmir Chamber and Commerce Industries President, Sheikh Ashiq Hussain, Kashmir economy suffered a loss of around Rs 17,878 crore in the first four months of restrictions and shutdown in the valley post Article 370 abrogation by the Government of India in August 2019.
This was followed by a nation-wide lockdown triggered by COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 that cost Kashmir economy Rs 27,000 crore.
As per trade bodies, the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown has further taken the already crippling economy to silent offshores with people associated with trade and economy estimating a loss of around Rs 5000 Crore from April 30 to May 30 this year.
Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Muhammad Yaseen Khan, said that around 50 per cent of the traders would not be able to continue the business as they have taken loans from financial institutions and they are not able to repay the installments.
“For the last 22 months, we have been hardly able to pay interests. To cope up with the set premiums has become very difficult, almost impossible, which has turned the performing assets into Non-Performing Assets (NPA),” Khan said.
He said that if trade and business has to be rescued from the uncertainty, infusion of bailout packages is highly inevitable.
Figures available with the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) suggest that Kashmir economy suffered a loss of around Rs 27,000 Crore during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown imposed in March 2020.
While talking about the partial relaxation in the ongoing lockdown, Khan said, “People from trade, business and transport owe money to banks and suppliers, and the economy has been on crippling end, which makes the survival very difficult. The immediate remedy would be the assistance from the government, but given the ongoing pandemic situation, we want to wait till COVID-19 situation stabilizes and we will come up with our demands and submit the same to the government.”
“Even if the trade and business is allowed to work on all week days, we are on the receiving end, unless there is no capital infusion in the market,” he said. (KNO)