Srinagar, July 10: The economic slowdown has led to number of big business houses winding up their operations in Kashmir and traders being left in lurch.
A group of businessmen while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Business houses have suffered severe jolts since the last year. The big brands which had arrived in Kashmir have almost winded up their operations. The prevailing uncertainty and then the outbreak of COVID-19 made led to these companies abandoning Kashmir.”
They said, “The losses which we have faced have left us in lurch and we have no idea about how to react to the situation and come out of the prevailing mess. Many people have lost their jobs due to businesses witnessing an unprecedented slump.”
“We had thought that lifting of lockdown will lead to revival of the economy but the presence of COVID-19 within the community and the fear about it spreading are not allowing life to return to normal. The threat and fear are prevalent in the air,” the businessmen said.
Recently, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)—an apex body of the traders in the Valley—had urged the Government of India (GoI) to announce special economic package for the ailing businesses in Kashmir.
A trader said, “The government has to find a way out to bail out the ailing businesses in Kashmir. The big brands and the companies which had ventured into Kashmir market have already called it quits and have left. The businessmen who had invested in these brands have been left with nowhere to go. Soon after the COVID-19 epidemic broke out the big companies reduced the commission of the dealers by 50% and deducted the other incentives which they used to get. Most of their agents refused to work on the revised terms and conditions as these were not acceptable to them. This led to the companies snapping ties with the Kashmiri businessmen.”
He said, “The economic activity in Kashmir at present has got confined to people buying essentials and medicines. There is no other activity taking place. Major industries, which used to employ people have become defunct. Entrepreneurs have been left with no other option other than to lay off their staff.”
An analyst said, “Revival of business and economy won’t be possible till the world finds COVID cure. A vaccine or some medicine which can cure this deadly virus has to appear in the market to bring life back on track. Restoration of normalcy is the only way out to make the businesses functional. At this point of time everyone wants to keep himself safe.”