Markets are showing the same morbidity that was seen after the 2014 floods. There were serious efforts to revive but the 2016 unrest came as a new crisis. Also, various policy level interventions added to the crisis.

For the last few years now, for one or the other reason, the markets are not showing any possibility of change. The growth trajectory is nowhere around. What is happening is that basic life-related economics goes on, the food, education, hospitals and nothing much. The hospitality sector is in dire straits. The crisis in this cash-dispending sector was that a series of projects were stopped midway as the footfalls started disappearing. One upcoming hotel in Srinagar that was about to sign a deal with a major hospitality chain for management, cancelled the idea at the last moment. Within days, it started hunting for a hospital chain to sign a deal with!

With tourism, the handicrafts are suffering as well. There is a lot of capital blocked for the last few years. The real estate is literally paralysed. The hoards of skilled workers from outside who would show up at designated places are nowhere to be seen in the impressive numbers. The real estate was devoured by the demonetization and is yet to recover. Many people insist it may not recover at all.

Off late, there were issues with the general trade, especially because of the interventions on the highway. The import-export situation has completely taken a back seat as only essentials get in and the major produce moves out. Though the restrictions on the highway were removed, the repairs and renovation process between Banihal and Ramban is going to run riot with the movement of people and the products in coming days. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce has had a series of meetings with the state administration but they have not had any positive response about how the government would manage the restoration of the highway.

Engineers, who know the stretch that is witnessing the repairs, insist that the entire mountain that is being blasted is highly unstable. They say the designers and engineers will have to discover an alternative way out to lay the road for this particular stretch. Officially, there has not been any response. The highway is expected to face more problems during Monsoon.

In this situation, Kashmir should understand the crisis that it has landed in. As the Eid is approaching, the people must shun the austerity and help the market to review.


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