‘COVID-19 lockdown proved to be last nail in the coffin; traders, transporters not in a position to clear debts’
Kashmir News Service
Srinagar ,Aug 23: The Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA) on Sunday said the five -month-long lockdown has dented the Valley’s economy by Rs 21000 crore and the total loss for the last one year is estimated to be around Rs 45,000 crore.
An online report released by the Trade Alliance states that the traders in the Valley have suffered a total loss of Rs 21,320.64 crore in the last five months as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Alliance stated that the final report will be released after the lockdown ends. The interim report was compiled after covering the daily trade and business, gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017-18 and the economic outlook.
The report states: “The agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and agriculture sector suffered a loss of Rs 942.4 crore during the five months of the catastrophic downpour, as a result of which the sector was hit hard in 2019. Livestock suffered a loss of Rs. 2234 crore. Lockdown proved to be the last nail in the coffin of an already dying production industry. In total, the sector incurred a loss of Rs. 3161 crore during the lockdown period.”
According to the report the lockdown brought construction activities to a standstill, leaving 500,000 people jobless. Construction activities and projects were hit by Rs 2,214.64 crore.
The Trade Alliance said thousands of people lost their jobs, hotels and houseboats were locked as tourist activities ceased.
Tourism players were waiting for tourists in 2020, but the lockdown and the prevailing situation have dashed their hopes, and in the last five months alone, the sector has lost Rs 1,292 crore, while the hotel and restaurants also suffered a loss of Rs 760 crore.
The report said that the wheels of passenger vehicles have been jammed in the Valley for the last five months, while an estimated 60,000 passenger vehicles are stranded. There are vehicles, including 32,000 taxi cabs, 6,000 Tata vehicles or minibuses, 12,000 auto rickshaws and buses, a total of 200,000 families are dependent on transport. The drivers and conductors are facing penury. The sector has suffered losses of Rs 2888 crore as a result of the lockdown in the last 5 months.
“There are millions of shopkeepers in the Valley having 2 to 3 salesmen on average. As a result of shutters being down, most of the shopkeepers are not in a position to repay the debt, nor are they in the position to pay the interest. The shopkeepers have lost Rs. 4104 crore during the lockdown. Handicrafts sector has incurred a total loss of Rs. 760 crore during the last 5 months. Real estate sector has faced Rs 2280 crore loss, while the services sector incurred a loss of Rs. 608 crore. The education sector has also suffered a loss of Rs. 76 crore,” the report states.
“Rs 1000 crore loss has been incurred during the last 3 Eids. The average daily trade in the valley is Rs 140 crore, however, the economy of the Valley has reached the brink of collapse. The business community also suffered irreparable losses during the catastrophic floods of 2014, the same total losses were around Rs one lakh crore, after which the situation broke the backs of Kashmiri traders, leaving millions of people in dock. The closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for about 35 days resulted in losses of about Rs 3,000 crore to the business community.” (KNS)