Kashmir Chamber Seeks Phased Unlocking From June 1, Meets Officials

SRINAGAR:  Kashmir Chamber has suggested the government start phased unlocking from June 1 to help the economy pick up the threads. They have assured the stakeholders will ensure better compliance with the Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Lal Chowk, the heart of Srinagar on July 13, 2020 when the second phase of lock down started for containing the Covid-19. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

In a follow-up meeting on issues regarding trade, commerce and industry raised in the interaction held with the Advisor to the Lt Governor, Baseer Ahmad Khan on May 20, a delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by President, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad and general –secretary, Farooq Amin met Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Mohammed Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and explained to them the issues faced by weaker sections of the society impacted by the pandemic triggered a lockdown.

According to the KCCI spokesperson, the association highlighted the issues and problems faced by the weaker sections of society connected with trade and commerce that required urgent assistance and attention. It also thanked the authorities for taking the time to interact and understand the issues and problems being faced by them.

“The suggestions were well received,” KCCI spokesperson said adding that we are hopeful the issues will be addressed on a priority basis. “President suggested authorities’ steps to mitigate the adverse impacts of the prolonging pandemic and the continuous lockdown.”

As the market in Kashmir is frequently shut for more than a year and battling successive lockdowns, the delegation suggested authorities unlock the market in a phase-wise manner from June 1, onwards while assuring the authorities that Covid-19 appropriate behaviour would be ensured by the stakeholders.

It also drew the government’s attention to the Restaurants and Café sector, which supports the livelihood of many people as they were also facing a lot of difficulties due to the continuous lockdown. The delegation requested Chairman DDMA to consider allowing home delivery activities for the Restaurants and Café sector.

As it is also necessary to ensure a safe corridor for the movement of goods and smooth supplies of essential products and facilitating the smooth operations in delivering essential commodities like food products and FMCG, the delegation raised the issue of wholesalers, distributors facing problems in supplying goods to dealers.

“The delegation requested authorities to ensure availability of essential Kiryana items, baby food and medicines and medical products and facilitating their smooth operations,” said the KCCI spokesperson.

Keeping the health and well-being of people in consideration, the delegation stressed the need of containing contagion through fumigation and vaccination drives especially in the old city of Srinagar. According to its spokesperson, the President and general-secretary urged DC Srinagar to ramp up their already commendable efforts in the war against Covid-19 and urged authorities to fumigate public places, contaminating zones and carry mobile vaccination drives in industrial estates and Sher e Khaas.

With people staying home and no pollution around, nature is exhibiting its beauties day in and day out. This is how Srinagar parts looked on the first day of Ramzan. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

In a meeting with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, the delegation highlighted the problems faced by people due to dilapidated roads especially after severe winters across Kashmir and in Srinagar particular. The delegation requested the Div Com to expedite the process of road repairing for the convenience of the public. The delegation also requested authorities to allow administrative staff of private educational institutions to run online classes.

They requested the administration to extend the relief measures and compensation to other impacted sectors of the society who also live from hand to mouth and have been impacted due to pandemic lockdowns like artisans, waivers, transporters, small shopkeepers, street vendors and industrial labourers. He suggested augmenting monthly monetary assistance to the families so that that they can afford the cost of two meals a day, said its spokesperson.

A substantial amount of Rs 5000 per month be provided to the vulnerable sections of society whose livelihoods have taken a hit. “The cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per month for drivers/cleaners belonging to the transport sector for the period of Covid lockdown needed to be considered,” the spokesperson said.

As the pandemic rages on, so does the need for oxygen. The delegation drew the attention of the government to the lack of oxygen in some hospitals of the valley and requested the administration to ensure the availability of life-saving gas.

Sheikh Ashiq and Farooq Amin stated that the business community fully backed the administration in the fight to eradicate the Covid pandemic. The delegation appreciated the government’s Covid19 management and extended all support to the efforts to contain the contagion said spokesperson, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). They fervently appealed for the monetary compensation of vulnerable sections of the society impacted due to Corona Curfew.

Lately, keeping in view the havoc, the severe weather played with the people’s crops and property, the KCCI delegation, demanded Div Com that the farmers whose fruit crops were destroyed due to the hailstorm across Kashmir be provided compensation by the government for the losses they have suffered.

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