As govt asks Yatris, tourists to pack up from Kashmir, trade body flags tourism ‘promotion’
Says such moves will ensure a breakdown of economy
Srinagar: Amid uncertainty in Kashmir over Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday expressed concern over what it called the “unleashing of what could possibly only be referred as ‘Operation Bedlam’ on the helpless citizens of Kashmir”.
At a presser in Srinagar, the trade body said that the “deliberate leaking of otherwise classified information regarding movement of troops, official orders and details of meeting discussions, issuance of orders liable to create panic in the public in addition to the rumours and propaganda have resulted in pushing the State towards a crisis of unprecedented proportions”.
The government order asking Yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir immediately coupled with “major operation” in which vehicles of the SRTC and other Government vehicles ferried tourists and yatris back to their homes, putting IAF on high alert, sending non-local students at NIT back to their homes and disallowing free movement of civilians and political leaders “triggered public hysteria in Kashmir”, the KCCI alleged.
It said the government’s moves had pushed people into “panic stocking” of essentials including petrol and withdrawal of cash from ATM’s.
“As a result, petrol pumps, ATM have and shops were dry by late evening. The population is being exposed to undesirable psychological games”.
It said the order had “not only forced tourists and yatris to leave the valley but has also triggered a migration of the work force and labour working in various business, developmental and infrastructural projects in the State”.
The KCCI said the “clarification by the spokesperson of the Home Department could not explain the need for issuance of such an order and does not appear plausible”.
It further alleged that there had been a “Change in policy” by the centre on Kashmir since the Pulwama suicide attack in February.
“Since then the people of Kashmir have been at the receiving end. The tourism, horticulture and other sectors of our economy suffered tremendous losses due to the decision of the government to restrict movement of civilians on the only road link of Srinagar-Jammu,” it alleged.
The state government’s latest order asking Yatris and tourists to pack up from Kashmir has “not only managed to pour water over the efforts of the state government for tourism promotion and broken the back of our tourism sector, it has in a single fell swoop caused irreversible damage to the economy of the State,” KCCI alleged.
“A breakdown of the economy is imminent”.
The trade body said the statements issued by leaders belonging to the ruling party “infer that the Central Government is planning a major operation in Kashmir”.
“Whether the offensive is in the shape of making changes to the Special Status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir or a operation is still not clear,” it said.
“Whatever the Government plans, it is clear that it would be detrimental to the interests of people of the State and requires use of force to control the population, added the KCCI.
It demanded “restoration of sense of security amongst the general public, proper assessment of business losses caused and protection against future losses”.