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Coronavirus scare: IT companies bear the brunt in Kashmir

Srinagar, Mar 12: It was after six months of internet shutdown that Sameer Ahmad started operations of his Information Technology Company.

Having lost almost 70 percent of clientele across the globe due to internet shutdown last year, he was left with only option to visit his clients to convince them for resuming business.


Enter coronavirus threat and Ahmad’s dream came crashing down.   “Major IT companies have suspended their operations in the country and abroad. I mailed and called up my clients but they are not showing any interest. I had decided to visit them personally but under current circumstances, it is not possible,” he said.

Sameer is not an isolated case. There are scores of IT unitholders who are facing heavy losses due to the coronavirus scare. Several companies in IT hub across the continents have shut down.

Kashmir’s top IT firms have a fairly large presence in Singapore, Hong Kong, and other countries, which reported many cases of coronavirus.

“IT sector already took a hit due to a six-month-long internet blockade. For the last 20 days, our business had started picking up again.  Coronavirus, which is now a bigger challenge worldwide, is equally affecting our business,” said Mehraj Gulzar, former chairman of the Information and Communications Technology Association (ICTA).

Gulzar said their national and international clients are shifting to other IT companies. “If the virus is not contained, it will have a major impact on the overall IT sector. Our marketing plans and meetings with national and international clients are stuck,” he said.

Post-Abrogation of article 370, IT was among the prime sectors, which took a major hit. At least 3,000 techies lost their jobs as many companies moved their offices to other states or remained closed for at least six months.

Pertinently, economists claim that India’s $185 billion information technology (IT) industry has so far minimally impacted.