The State Economic Reconstruction Forum (SERF)—an amalgam of various trade, business and commerce bodies— formed after the devastating floods held an anti-government protest Saturday against the “government callous attitude towards the trade community, after floods.”
The SERF protest started and ended at in Lal Chowk amidst slogans like “We want justice”.
The protest was meant to “expose the government’s failure in undertaking relief and rehabilitation operations after the floods.”
The SERF accused the state and central government of failing to mitigate the sufferings of business community caused due to the recent floods.
SERF is demanding immediate relief for common people and business houses, tax concessions across state and revival and rehabilitation.
Pertinently, the devastating flood which hit the state in the first week of September has rendered countless people homeless and unimaginable losses to almost all the sectors. Even more than one month after the flood, the common people are worried about urgent concerns like shelter, heating, healthcare, sanitation and food for their families. “In Uttarakhand, international agencies got involved just after a week’s time after the area faced deadly flood some time back but such aid is not allowed in Kashmir,” SERF office bearers said.
SERF is alleging authorities of keeping their eyes and ears closed. “The state government is disoriented, its efforts directionless and disorganized. The disaster response efforts of the government could be termed as a ‘Calamity of Rare Severity’ for people,” SERF said. It alleged the state government of being “anxious to escape under the garb of Durbar Move”.
SERF demanded that the assessment of all losses in all sectors should be done in close collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) as was done in the case of Uttarakhand. The SERF has also demanded a ten year Income Tax exemption for Kashmir Valley.