Srinagar, Mar 30: More than 2000 Kashmiri stranded businessmen in Goa have sent an SOS to the central and UT government for early evacuation as they are running out of money and food in the coastal state.
Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of Naseeb Bagh Srinagar who owns a handicraft showroom in Candolim Goa, said around 1000 Kashmiris are currently putting up in north Goa without access to basic amenities.
“We are stuck here for the last two weeks without enough food and money. Everyone wants to return home since Goa has been witnessing slump for the last month. We demand evacuation,” he said.
Ahmad said the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide has hit their business for the last two months. “Handicrafts business is dependent on tourists. Tourists have given Goa a miss this time around. We have exhausted all our earnings. What is more worrying is that our stocks of food and essentials are fast depleting,” he said.
Ahmad said a majority of them had already booked their tickets to Kashmir but couldn’t visit as flight operations across India have been suspended.
“There is a complete lockdown in Goa. Everybody wants to return home as we couldn’t even go out to fetch vegetables and milk,” he said.
Ahmad said prices of groceries have gone through the roof and they are unable to bear the expenses. “I purchased a dozen eggs for Rs 100 and somebody was selling a kilogram of onion at Rs 250,” he said.
Javed Reshi, a jeweller, said they are not even issued passes by the authorities to help their fellows in distress.
“Some are here with their families and suffering immensely. We have not been issued passes so that we can reach out to our fellow Kashmiris and help them in arranging food and other essentials,” he said.
Rayees Ahmad, another Kashmiri businessman, said they held a meeting with the authorities in Goa seeking their help. “We called on the concern MLA and he assured us assistance and help,” he said.