Srinagar, April 30: Business activities and developmental works, including languishing projects and repair of roads, and livelihood issues of people have come to halt in Kashmir.
The Government has not only failed to release the pending payments of contractors but the closure of the national highway for two days a week has given a blow to the already fragile economy of Kashmir, this was stated by the CPI (m) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The spokesman said that normally in April the work on development projects used to be on full swing as the Kashmir witnesses slump in construction activities during winter months due to low temperatures. However, this year situation is totally different as the work on all the important projects has come to halt as the pending bills of the contractors have not been released by the Government. The condition of roads across the Valley is pathetic as the macadamazation process has not begun.
The economy of Kashmir was already in doldrums since the devastating flood hit the Valley in 2014 and due to the unrest of 2016. While the prevailing uncertain situation in Kashmir continued to break the back of local businesses, implementation of GST in 2017 had a cascading effect on trade and related activities in the state. GST in Kashmir like many other states lacked clarity and hit trade badly.
Now the latest decision of the Government to close the national highway for two days a week has dealt another blow to the already feeble economy of Kashmir. The ban has impacted the transportation of goods and the flow of tourists. Banning transport for 48 hours in a week will lead to a huge economic loss. Shortage of essential commodities due to highway ban has led to a hike in prices which ultimately will lead to the crisis.
This ban has added to the trauma of travellers and drivers on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which remains closed for long periods due to the landslides during rain and snowfall. It is high time that the Government rescinds this ban order as elections in the state are almost over.
Besides, under the garb of the election code of conduct, the officers in the administration have left the day-to-day problems of people unattended from the last almost two months. Elections are important but the redressal of issues of common people can’t be ignored. Now when the elections are almost over the administration must gear up and solve the problems of common people on priority.
The non-payment of wages to daily wagers, casual workers, NREGA workers, contractuals, Anganwadi workers/helpers, ASHAs, CPWs, Mid-Day Meal workers and others is another concern which the government must attend on priority. The livelihood issues of people have been totally ignored. We are concerned over the plight of the working class who is adversely hit by the economic policies “pursued” by the Modi government which are drastically affecting the workforce in the state and the country.
Sajad alleges NC, PDP of drifting towards power at cost of Art-35 A
Srinagar, May 21: Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone Tuesday castigated the twin traditional parties for trivializing the sentiments of the people of Kashmir and their inherent tendency to lie to suit their interests.
Sajad said the moral pretense of NC and PDP, the high stentorian rhetoric of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti stands ridiculed today.
“You boycotted the ULB elections and termed it as a ‘sham’ election under the fig leaf of Article 35-A. Just answer one question. How seriously would New Delhi take you given that the theatre both of you enacted prior to the ULB polls. Those assertions of aspirations, those assertions of boycott to safeguard article 35 A- was that all a sham? Were you all along lying. We just pray that Delhi does not take your non seriousness about Art 35 A as a reference point. Your covert participation and now overt acceptance makes mockery of the cause that you were supposedly advocating—God save us all from advocates as murky as you”, he added.
Sajad said that both parties are now drifting towards power at the cost of the cause that they were purportedly advocating.
“This is a section of the Kashmiri leadership which was in headlines all across the country for boycotting the ULB polls—now it transpires that on one hand an avowed boycott and on the other a lust for power. The national leadership today has a good idea about the seriousness of these leaders and their tantalizing lust for power—they today know they would sleep with the devil for the sake of power and would sacrifice and belittle any cause that they advocate”, he added.
Sajad emphasized that Peoples Conference has a clear and simple majority in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and will continue to deliver on its promises of delivering change in a city that has been neglected by the twin traditional parties.
“Both the traditional mainstream parties need to see the writing on the wall- that Srinagar is changing and taking strides towards hope and positivity under an overarching goal of self empowerment and accountability. PC Mayor and Deputy Mayor as well as all our Corporators will continue to play a very positive and enabling role in the SMC and will deliver effective change on the ground and try to transform Srinagar into a world class tourist city”, he added.
High prices force Kashmiris to purchase lesser dates this Ramadan
Srinagar, May 21 : Unlike previous years, the prices of dates have increased in the Kashmir markets in the ensuing holy month of Ramadhan, thanks to the major decrease in supply mostly due to suspension of cross LoC trade. The soaring prices of dates have forced the people of Kashmir to go for the less purchase of dates.
Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, a wholesale dealer of dates explained that less arrival of dates this year was responsible for the prices to increase by 15 to 20 per cent. “Kashmir has recorded the arrival of less date as compared to same time last year mostly due to suspension of cross LoC trade. Almost 20- 30 per cent decrease in arrival has caused the prices to go up” said Sheikh.
According to traders, prices of non-branded as well as branded dates have increased by at least 15-20 in the local markets. While last year one kilogram of unbranded dates was sold at Rs 90- Rs 100, this year it is sold at Rs 150- Rs 200, said the traders.
Farooq Dagga, a dates’ merchant told KNO that there has been some impact due to levy of 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax on the market prices of dates for last couple of years. “While there is almost increase of Rs 20 – Rs 30 per kg due to GST, dates which used to arrive through LoC trade mostly in form of dry low priced dates is witnessing a shortage,” said Dagga.
Even Ajwa dates, considered as pious and rich in medicinal value by Muslims across the world, priced anywhere between Rs 2000- Rs 2200 per kilogram in the local markets has seen an increase in prices. 40 plus varieties of dates that have arrived in Kashmir for Ramadhan this year which commenced on May 6 have seen an increase in prices proving to be a burden on common people.
Dates merchants at Parimpora fruit mandi said dates from Oman, Algeria, Iran and Iraq among other Muslim countries also find many buyers in the local market. These varieties which include Rabi, Razan, Kaas, Nawar, Jumar, Barari priced in the range of Rs 150 to Rs 2000 per kg have also seen an increase of 15 – 20 per cent, said another trader.
“Dates from Iraq and Pakistan used to find many takers in the local market but due to suspension of cross LoC trade there supplies have dried up. Even Israel exports dates across the world and this produce used to be also available in the Valley,” Muhammad Saleem Bhat, a fruit merchant told KNO.
Congress remembers Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary
Srinagar, May 21: The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) in a meeting of Senior Party Functionaries & Prominent Leaders remembered Former Prime Late Rajiv Gandhi on his 28th death anniversary and paid floral tributes to departed leader.
The party said that martyrdom of Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi would continue to lead the nation at the path of unity, harmony and development.
The meeting was presided over by J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President G.A.Mir, who paid floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi, recalling his selfless services and sacrifices to the Nation and said the departed leader shall always be remembered for the services he has rendered to people irrespective of their caste or religion.
Addressing the meeting, G.A Mir described Rajiv Gandhi as a tallest leader of the Country under whose leadership the Nation touched the new heights in respect of development, education, science and technology etc, there was no looking back after Rajiv Ji introduced Computer Education bringing the Nation at par with other developing countries in the world, he said.