COVID-19: Kashmir economy, education, tourism on crossroads  

COVID-19: Kashmir economy, education, tourism on crossroads  

Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, May 14: The number of COVID-19 cases increasing in Kashmir with each passing day has put the question mark over the revival of economic activities in the Valley.
“Kashmir has been witnessing tough times since August 5, 2019, when Centre announced its decision to scrap J&K’s special status and divided it into two union territories. From August to November Kashmir witnessed restrictions and shutdown and normal life remained disrupted. In winter months people were unable to do anything much,” an observer said.
He said the outbreak of pandemic has multiplied the woes of people who were hoping for things to become better. “The COVID-19 hasn’t spared anyone. Everyone is sailing in the same boat.”
Besides economy the education sector in Kashmir too is at crossroads. “Students have not attended their schools and colleges for the past more than nine months. They have no clue about what they have to study and what’s in store for them. This deadly virus is threatening the academic career of the students,” the observer added.
Referring to the recent statement issued by World Health Organization (WHO) that the virus is there to stay, an analyst said, “It seems we will have to learn to live with the virus. If the COVID-19 curve doesn’t flatten then one can predict that life is not going to be that easy for the human beings across the globe.”
He said, “For people of Kashmir things are going to be more difficult as the tourism industry is the backbone of Kashmir’s economy. If the COVID-19 doesn’t go it would mean that people won’t move from one place to another and won’t even think about holidaying. So, it means the Tourism Industry in Kashmir will face the maximum brunt.”
“Other sectors like Horticulture, which generate the revenue in bulk in rural Kashmir, may also face the wrath of Coronavirus if the economy keeps on crumbling,” the analyst added.
He said that coming days seem to be tough for Kashmir and its people. “People of the Valley have been facing very difficult times for the past so many years. For them lockdown is nothing new but the outbreak of pandemic is something which no one across the world had seen for the past 100-years. Rules of business and other activities will have to change if the COVID-19 refuses to go even after the vaccine comes in the market,” the analyst said.
“The changing scenario is an indication that world is going to be a different place to live in as people have been left with no other option other than to confine their activities,” he added.