Thursday, July 2, 2020 | ePaper

Kashmir shutdown caused losses of more than $1b: Trade body

  • Print


A Kashmiri girl rides her bike past Indian security force personnel standing guard in front of closed shops in a street in Srinagar,

Reuters, Srinagar :
Economic losses in Kashmir have run well over a billion dollars since India revoked its autonomy and statehood in August, the main trade body in the Himalayan region said, adding that it planned to sue the government for damages.
India turned its erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into a federally-controlled territory, tightening control in a shock move it said would rein in militancy in the region also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan, and promote its development.
But the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said development was elusive, thanks to a protracted shutdown after people closed markets and businesses as a mark of protest, and for fear of reprisals from insurgents.
It estimated economic losses ran into least 100 billion rupees ($1.40 billion) by September, but now exceeded that, said Nasir Khan, its senior vice president.
"We'll ask the court to appoint an external agency to assess the losses, because it is beyond us," said Khan, adding that India's telecoms blackout in the region meant the body could not reach business owners by telephone to prepare estimates.
Instead, it had to send staff to meet them and gather details. India's home ministry and local government officials did not respond to detailed requests for comment.
Besides severing telecoms links ahead of its decision, India imposed curbs on travel and sent thousands of troops to the heavily-militarised region, citing security concerns. Some curbs have since been eased, but access to the internet remains largely blocked. India and Pakistan have tussled over Kashmir since independence from Britain in 1947, with each claiming the region in full but ruling it only in part.
For decades, India has battled insurgency in the portion it controls. It blames Pakistan for fuelling the strife, but Pakistan denies this, saying it gives only moral support to non-violent separatists.
The clampdown has hit tourism as well as farming, horticulture and the arts and crafts that contribute the most to its export-oriented economy.
"I don't see any stability for many months here," said Vivek Wazir, who runs a hotel in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar. "There's too much uncertainty."
Although a few years ago he planned to expand his business in Kashmir, Wazir said the hotel was now barely breaking even, and he was instead considering opening one in the neighbouring Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
India cancelled an investor summit it had planned in Kashmir in October, and most tourists have stayed away after a spate of attacks on non-locals in recent weeks, which police blame on militants backed by Pakistan.
"I'd be surprised if any genuine investors came," said Khan, adding that KCCI had received no inquiries from potential investors since August. (Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui; Additional reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

More News For this Category

US coronavirus cases rise by 47,000, biggest one-day spike of pandemic

US coronavirus cases rise by 47,000, biggest one-day spike of pandemic

Reuters :New US COVID-19 cases rose by more than 47,000 on Tuesday according to a Reuters tally, the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic, as the government's

Judge temporarily halts release of tell-all book by Donald Trump's niece

Judge temporarily halts release of tell-all book by Donald Trump's niece

Reuters :A New York judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Donald Trump's niece from publishing a tell-all book that offers an unflattering portrait of the US president and his family.Justice Hal

52 killed in protests over Ethiopian singer's death

52 killed in protests over Ethiopian singer's death

At least 52 people have been killed in Ethiopia after the death of a popular singer sparked huge protests in the Oromia region, a local official has told the BBC.Thousands

Erdogan says EU's treatment of Turkey over coronavirus is political

Erdogan says EU's treatment of Turkey over coronavirus is political

Reuters, Ankara : President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the European Union had treated Turkey in a restrictive way over the coronavirus pandemic in what he said was a political

Blast at Tehran clinic kills 19, says state-run news agency

Blast at Tehran clinic kills 19, says state-run news agency

Reuters :Nineteen people were killed and six injured on Tuesday in an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, the official IRIB news agency

US hopes for in-person G7 summit in late August

Reuters, Tokyo  :The United States has told Japan that it wants to organize an in-person Group of Seven leaders' summit in late August, two Japanese government sources with direct knowledge

Pandemic sinks Japan business mood to lowest since 2009 crisis

Pandemic sinks Japan business mood to lowest since 2009 crisis

Reuters :Japanese manufacturers' confidence sank in the second quarter to levels not seen since the 2009 global financial crisis, underscoring the damage the coronavirus pandemic inflicted on the export-reliant economy.The

PIA banned from flying to EU states for six months

Dawn, Pakistan :The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended the authorisation for the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate in the bloc for six months, the airline's spokesman

UK COVID-19 death toll nears 55,000 including suspected cases

UK COVID-19 death toll nears 55,000 including suspected cases

Reuters :The United Kingdom's suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 54,852, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that underlines the country's status as one of the

Coronavirus puts millions more at risk of child marriage, FGM: UN

Reuters, London :The coronavirus pandemic is reversing progress on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), jeopardising the futures of millions of girls, a senior UN official said