Closure costs valley over Rs 150 crore a day: Chamber

Srinagar, Apr 8: Terming the ban on civilian traffic on national highway as “unmitigated disaster” for Kashmir, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday said that move is incurring losses of Rs 150-250 crores daily to the valley economy.

Addressing media persons here, president, KCCI Sheikh Ashiq said the Chamber totally disapproves the ban.

 

“The ban has been objected by all the stakeholders. There is a collective demand for its revocation. Modifications to the order, banning movement of civilian vehicular traffic on national highway and establishing helpline numbers has brought no relief to the people,” he said.

Asking government to devise a mechanism which does not interfere with the movement of civilian traffic, Ashiq said that the people of the state are now being asked to delete Wednesdays and Sundays from their day-to-day life.

“Daily routines are important in all societies but assume critical importance in our situation of admitted economic stress. The order is ill conceived, bereft of logic and suffers from multiple infirmities. It indicates scant regard for the rights of people,” he said.

“It is being said that the move has been taken in view of the security of security personnel. The issuance of order, itself is an acknowledgement about the situation not being conducive for holding elections,” he added.

Urging Election Commission of India to understand the perception of holding the elections in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, he said that holding the entire population hostage for conducting of a democratic exercise is itself a contradiction.

“The implementation of the order has caused irreparable losses to our economy especially tourism and horticulture sector. Business establishments along the highway have been forcibly closed as a consequence of the ban. Normal life has been disrupted,” he said.

He said the present condition of the national highway prevents it from catering to the volume of normal traffic. “It is frequently closed or one way traffic is allowed. The distance of around 270 km takes 15-20 hours. The order has created tension and anxiety among the population,” he added.

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