KL NEWS NETWORK
As crowds throng streets in preparation for the Eid on Friday, markets across Kashmir report decline in sales. This was despite people queuing up before the ATMs uninterrupted.
Amid reasonable shopping for ladies, kids garment and accessory, shop keepers cite price hike of commodities, particularity non-food items in the last one year, as a reason of decline in sales.
“Every year, we have a steady inflow of customers both men and women before Eid thronging markets to shop for different items,” says Fazlul Haq, a shopkeeper in Old city of Srinagar. “But this year, our business has gone down by about 30 per cent, despite most of us giving discounts on all major items.”
Fazlul says that people have probably started paying importance to basic necessities than going for Eid shopping
“Every month we make it sure to save some money so as to spend it on Eid shopping later. But higher prices of vegetables, meat and the ever increasing college fees of our students have tossed our monthly budget out of proportion. We thus unable to shop at will this year,” Souleha Arshid, a customer said.
The sale of sacrificial animals in also grim. Usually makeshift markets of sacrificial animals that used to spring up in anticipation of the festival would witness massive crowding. But, there are few takers for these animals this Eid. The main trading market of sacrificial animals at Eidgah in Srinagar city looks deserted, at least on Thursday.
The herdsmen, who have travelled from far off places of the valley and Chenab region expecting a decent sales and profit, say, this year the sales were not up to the expectations. “This is the second time in a row,” said one Rajouri resident. “Last years’ floods were the major reason for slump in sales.”
Thousands of herdsmen move to greener pastures every summer and return by the start of autumn. On their way home, they would book sales in and around Srinagar, for the last few years. Both Muslim festivals, Eid-ul-Fatr and Eid-ul-Adha, follow the lunar calendar that would coincide with the return journey of the herdsmen from Kashmir pastures.
However, government employees say the non-availability of salaries has compelled them to stay liquid and curtail spending. “I am government employee, and how would I spend unless my salary is not released,” asked Ghulam Muhammad.
President, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Muhammad Yaseen Khan, opines that the government money which is pumped in the market is the major driving force of Kashmir economy.
“But once funds from the government are stopped how can we expect jubilant markets,” he said.
However, Director Treasuries Altaf Mirza told Kashmir Life that in last two days they have released Rs 566 crore. “We released all the funds in cases where general public was directly involved. It included pending salary of around Rs 150 crore that was pending for some weeks, wages and around Rs 200 crore to contractors,” Mirza said. “Salary was not advanced and will be released on due date.” He admitted a pendency of around Rs 400 crore with the treasuries.