Ejaz Ahmed, who grew up in a backward settlement on the shores of beautiful Dal Lake, started a Kashmiri handicraft export business with his cousin after many years of hard work and his company was reaching new heights till last year.
His showroom in the southern Indian state of Kerala was named ‘Euphoria Arts’, where embroidery, embroidery, carpets and other handicrafts were made from Kashmir.
They transported to Kerala, where Ijaz and his companions sold the goods locally and locally. Sell internationally.
However, on the morning of August 5, 2019, when the gradual weakening of Kashmir’s sovereignty was formally announced, extended restrictions and unprecedented restrictions to suppress the public reaction halted all trading activity in Kashmir for several months.
Ijaz’s business was also affected due to these closures.
Thus, Ijaz, who ran his export business till last year, is now forced to make a living by selling vegetables grown in his backyard on the shores of Dal Lake.
‘I am not a seller; our annual turnover was Rs 30 million! But now showrooms and factories are closed, and people are forced to starve at home.
Given this situation, I also thought that a start should be made.
If that was not enough, the lockdown imposed to prevent the Corona epidemic from this spring onwards, while severely affecting the global economy, further besieged the people of Kashmir and spread fear throughout the town.
But it is nothing new for Kashmiris to be confined to their homes for weeks and months, to face food shortages and to face uncertain economic conditions as they have been suffering from such situations for almost 30 years.
However, during the lockdown, these problems doubled.
Kashmiris were recovering from the post-August 5 announcement that the epidemic had once again paralyzed politics, education, trade and social life.
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And so, with all the new legislation or new ordinances that have been enacted since August 2019, the general public is not only worried about their identity, but a large number of young people are in the grip of helplessness and unemployment. is also
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), the oldest traders’ association, has released a detailed report on the damage to Kashmir’s economy over the past one year, which has cost Kashmiris a total of Rs 400 billion. The rupee is facing a deficit.
Two-thirds of the population is dependent on the horticulture industry, but apples are grown in Kashmir last year either rotted on trees or were lost in trucks due to restrictions before reaching the markets.
The same was true of other fruits. “Shopkeepers have closed their shops and started rolling in the streets, and tourist-dependent transporters are selling tea at the corner.”
KCCI President Sheikh Ashiq told the: “70,000 people involved in tourism have lost their jobs and the same is true of all sectors. We have published official and cautious statistics in the report, according to which a total of half a million people have lost their jobs.
Sheikh Ashiq says the problem of unemployment in Kashmir should not be taken in the traditional sense. “Educated youth do not have government opportunities, or they do not have the resources to do business.
This is a different matter, let it be for now.
The serious problem here at the moment is that the one who had the job is gone, the one who has the shop is closed, the factory is there, and if there is one.
It is also locked. If nothing is done immediately, people will take to the streets.
Ejaz Ahmed, who sells vegetables by the lake after washing his hands of the booming trade, fears the situation. “Look, what is happening. I think everyone will be ready on the road. We will all be on the radio for trivial things, and buyers will not have money to buy.”
It is noteworthy that the number of government employees in Jammu and Kashmir is much higher than in other Indian states.
In Jammu and Kashmir, out of an annual budget of Rs 100,000 crore, Rs 38,000 crore is spent on salaries and pensions of 4.5 lakh government employees.
Experts say the same money is currently circulating in the market, which has not yet led to a mass starvation crisis.
However, he says: “The purchasing power of ordinary Kashmiris is almost gone, and even government employees now spend only on food and drink because in uncertain circumstances they prefer to save money, as would be the case with trade.” That’s what happened. ”
Economist Ijaz Ayub says that apart from Ladakh, the total population of Jammu and Kashmir is 1.25 crore.” According to our survey, out of this number, we have 4.4 million working people.
But before August 5 last year, 1.2 million of them were already unemployed, at 15 percent. But now the rate has more than tripled.
The share of government employees’ earnings in our economy is only 10%, the situation is terrible.
It may be recalled that after the lockdown in India after March this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced government assistance of Rs 2.1 million crores to help the deficit-ridden traders and unemployed youth.
However, KCCI President Sheikh Ashiq says: “It seems that Jammu and Kashmir was not included in the declaration, although we were affected not only by the lockdown but also by the unilateral statement.
This was done on August 5 last year.