SRINAGAR: A delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by General Secretary, Farooq Amin today held a detailed meeting with Mohammed Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to allow the reopening of restaurants in Srinagar with 50 percent capacity as they continue to wear a deserted look and have been adversely impacted due to successive lockdowns.
President, Restaurant and Cafe Association of Kashmir (RAK), Sheikh Feroz also accompanied the delegation and apprised the authorities of the plight of the people of this industry which is on the verge of collapse.
“The sector which employs thousands of people and is a source of livelihood for thousands of families, the delegation urged authorities to allow the reopening of restaurants and assured that proper Covid-19 SOP’s will be followed in order to contain the contagion,” said KCCI spokesman in a statement.
“Even though following the easing of lockdown, the restaurants had started functioning in Kashmir, only take away and home delivery facilities are available as physical distancing guidelines are still in place. As the administration has started lifting Covid-19 restrictions on various businesses across the Valley, restaurants across Kashmir, especially in Srinagar wear a deserted look,” he said.
“As the Covid-19 second wave has receded 0.5% positive rate and the government has eased the lockdown, the delegation apprised the authorities of the plight of the people impacted due to closure of the restaurants as the industry supports the livelihood of thousands of people,” said the KCCI spokesperson.
According to KCCI spokesperson, Restaurants and Café sector is facing a lot of difficulties due to the continuous lockdown. The delegation requested DC Srinagar, Aijaz Ahmad, to allow 50 percent reopening of restaurants so that the industry is revived.
“There is a culture of visiting restaurants in Kashmir rather than take away and home delivery. The new norms have been dictated by the pandemic. However, the restaurants are witnessing brisk business despite advertisements of home delivery and take away options,” said KCCI spokesperson.
Also, as the pandemic has receded and the tourists are returning to valley, they are also not able to explore and taste the Kashmiri cuisines served in these restaurants. This meeting was a follow up after assurances from Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, PK Pole who earlier had given a patient hearing to the crisis the restaurant industry is facing.
According to KCCI spokesperson, DC Srinagar Aijaz Asad also gave patient hearing to the issues and acknowledged the difficulties and unemployment crisis of the sector.
In order to alleviate the suffering and save the industry from collapse, the KCCI delegation urged Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta and Div Com, Kashmir and DC Srinagar to ease the restrictions and issue orders of reopening.
The delegation assured the authorities that COVID-appropriate behaviour would be followed by the stakeholders. KCCI thanked authorities for listening to ground realities and hoped that the issues raised with the authorities will be heeded.