Frequent shutdowns, internet gag: Pulwama, Shopian plunging into economic crises
Pulwama/Shopian: As the year 2018 proved bloodiest in the Valley, the business in southern districts especially in Pulwama and Shopian has taken a hit as the districts witnessed frequent shutdowns and internet blockades.
The twin districts are the worst hit districts in terms of economic losses throughout the previous year as the two districts are being considered as the epicenter of new age militancy as most of the top commanders of different militant groups belong to these districts.
Every time when militants from Pulwama and Shopian districts are being killed in an encounter with government forces within or outside the districts, these districts remain shut for at least four days to mourn the deaths while as authorities also snap the internet services for many days as ‘precautionary measure’ to avert law and order situation.
The people dealing with business sector suffer huge losses due to the frequent shutdowns and internet gag.
Pulwama Traders Federation Secretary, Altaf Ahmad Kar said Pulwama district in 2018 observed shutdown and protests for 155 days and the estimate loss amounts to crores per month.
Ishfaq Ahmad Mir, a shopkeeper from Pulwama town said that due to frequent shutdowns, they fail to keep up their monthly repayments thereby many head merchants have closed off their business deals with Pulwama traders.
As per trade members from Shopian, the town has remained shut for more than 150 days during the year 2018, due to which traders have been facing immense problems and many have already shut their business in the area while some have shifted their business to other parts of the Valley.
The frequent shutdowns and internet gag has badly affected the business patterns in Pulwama and Shopian due to which no new establishments is being laid in the area as existing ones are suffering huge losses, they said.
As per data available, the internet services were snapped in Pulwama district about 37 times for about 95 days and in Shopian district 32 times for about 90 days, leaving the traders to suffer huge losses.
At least 18 encounters took place in the year 2018 between government forces and militants in Pulwama district (police district Pulwama and Awantipora) while as Shopian district witnessed over 16 encounters including the three encounters in which militants managed to escape after exchange of fire, said a police official.