Unrest costs Kashmir R8,000 cr | india | Hindustan Times
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Unrest costs Kashmir R8,000 cr

india Updated: Sep 02, 2010 01:58 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times
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Kashmir has 25,000 hotel rooms. Till June 80 per cent were occupied. Today almost all are vacant.

Kashmir has about 2 lakh small shopkeepers, street vendors and cart pullers. Most of them have remained indoors during shutdowns and curfews.

The past 80 days of violence and strife in Kashmir have not only cost 65 civilian lives but hurt the region's economy hard. Industry organisations have estimated that Jammu and Kashmir has lost about Rs 8,000 crore in these past 80 days.

Shakeel Qalandar, president of the Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir said the state has 4 lakh enterprises comprising of 12 lakh people. "Almost half of them are one-man or two-men enterprises such as shopkeepers, street vendors and cart pullers. All of them are directly affected by shutdowns and curfews," he said.

Qalandar said the state incurs a loss of about Rs 100 crore for a single day of shutdown or curfew. "That means we have lost about Rs 8,000 crore in these past 80 days of unrest."

The tourism industry, the backbone of the region's economy, has been hit the hardest.

"We have almost 1,000 hotels across Kashmir, with a capacity of 25,000 rooms, besides eateries, restaurants and coffee shops. All of them are vacant. We have not laid our staff off as yet but sent some of them back to their homes," said Siraj Ahmad, president of the Kashmir Hoteliers and Restaurants Association.

He said that if the situation does not improve hotels would be forced to close down like they did in the 1990s, the worst phase of militancy. "We will have only two alternatives then -- to lay off the staff or slash their salaries by almost half. For, once we close the hotels, we won't need the staff," he said.

The corporate sector has not been spared either. An employee with HDFC Standard Life Insurance said, "For the past three months business has been negligible. The company is now thinking of reducing the number of units in the Valley. A list of employees to be laid off has already been drawn up if the situation continues like this. Everybody is distressed."