The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concern at the imposition of unprecedented restrictions on civilian movement on the National Highway and the suspension of Train services on the Qazigund-Banihal Sector.
A spokesperson of the KCC&I stated that the history of the Amarnath Cave was a lesson about the culture of communal harmony and brotherhood of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. For more than 150 years, the family of Buta Malik, the Muslim shepherd who discovered the Holy Cave was its custodian. Locals have throughout these years played an important role in the facilitation of the yatra and ensured it’s successful completion.
The Hon’ble Governor also acknowledged that it was the people of Kashmir who have been making the annual pilgrimage a success and not the security cover and termed the Amarnath Yatra as a symbol of Kashmiriyat. The Yatri’s have always been welcomed by the local population and any attempt to harm them has been condemned by one and all.
The imposition of the restrictions has severely disrupted normal economic activities and has caused irreversible losses to various sectors. The Tourism Sector has been the worst hit. There are numerous reports about the inconvenience caused to tourists due to the restrictions and tourists being stranded at various places unable to proceed with their scheduled programs and bookings.
The Horticulture Sector, which was already reeling due to the vagaries of the weather since November, 2018 when snowfall caused damages of around 400 to 500 crores followed by the frequent closure of the National Highway due to the inclement weather and road widening which resulted in either the fruit reaching the markets in a poor condition or forcing the growers to store the fruit for longer periods incurring additional costs. Inclement weather including hailstorms has been regularly causing damages to the crops. Stocks of Cherries and Plums being highly perishable have been damaged due to the restrictions.
The movement of goods has suffered because of the refusal of transporters to ply their vehicles in this sector. Traders, especially wholesalers and distributors have had to increase their normal inventory by an additional stock of about a month. Industrial units dependent upon the import of raw materials from outside the State are not able to meet their schedules due to the raw material being stuck at various points of the highway. Working capital requirements have increased and transportation costs have escalated to such an extent that the businesses can no longer absorb the stress.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges the Hon’ble Governor Satya Pal Malik to review the restrictions in light of the inconvenience to the general population, damages to the economy and tarnishing the image of the centuries-old bond of communal harmony and brotherhood of the State.