Jammu, Jan 2: The government Thursday said it was “aware” of the difficulties faced by traders and general public due to the ongoing internet blockade and was considering all modalities to restore the service.
It, apparently, is the first such admission by the authorities of the troubles persistent internet blockade has brought on the people of Kashmir.
The issue was discussed by a Joint Trade Delegation from Kashmir which Thursday called on the Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu here at the Raj Bhavan and apprised him about their concerning issues.
Kewal Kumar Sharma and Farooq Khan – Advisors to Lieutenant Governor; BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary and Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance were present on the occasion.
The members of the delegation raised several issues and demands related to the trade fraternity of Kashmir region. They highlighted the demand for the restoration of internet and said that the move is required for the economic growth of the region, besides it will assist the trade fraternity of Kashmir in timely filing of GST returns, updation of records, licenses and permits etc.
The Lt Governor interacted with the members of the delegation and assured them that the restoration of internet service will be done in a phased manner. He said that the steps like restoration of internet in Hospitals and SMS service were already being taken in this regard. He observed that the government is aware of the difficulties faced by the trade community as well as the general public due to the internet ban and is actively considering the modalities to restore the internet service.
The delegation also projected demands related to reduction of one time token tax on vehicles , freight transport subsidy for raw material, designated parking slots, rehabilitation of House Boat owners, Industry status to Hotels and Restaurant units, establishment of custom office facilities in Srinagar and minimum two direct flights per week for the pilgrims going to Umrah. They also put forth the issue of high air-fares charged by the Airlines especially during the closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and grant of status of National Highway to Mughal Road for better and enhanced connectivity.
On Agriculture and Horticulture losses, the Lt Governor observed that the government has already assessed the losses suffered by the farmers due to heavy snowfall and untimely rains and will soon initiate the necessary measures in this regard.
The Lt Governor also assured the delegation that all the genuine issues raised by them would be looked into meticulously by the Government and redressed at the earliest. The joint delegation was comprised of representatives from several trade associations of Kashmir including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries , Hotel & Restaurant Owners Federation, J&K Association of Haj & Umrah Companies, J&K Tourism Alliance, Kashmir Automobile Dealers Association, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Federation of Chamber of Industries Kashmir, House Boat Owners Association, Private Schools Association, Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association, Information and Technology Association and other kindred associations