Kashmir unrest has led to loss of Rs 26,000 crore business
Srinagar: The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, which is more than 100 days old now and has seen the Valley losing over 100 lives, has resulted in a loss of over Rs 26,000 crore worth of business, valuable academic session and public property worth crores.
The flames of unrest began on June 11 with the killing of a 17-year-old boy in alleged tear gas shelling by police at Rajouri Kadal and has engulfed the entire Valley.
Sopore, Pampore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Budgam, Ganderbal and Srinagar city have all witnessed violence, arson and deaths during the period.
The education system in the Valley has become a collateral damage in the cycle of protests and strikes called by the hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and curfew imposed by the state government to thwart these programmes.
Despite claims of the state government that over 70 percent schools were functioning normally in the Valley, the students have stayed home for most of the past 100 days.
Considering that Valley has three months of winter vacations and another month of gazetted holidays, the effect of strikes and curfew on the learning process is any body`s guess.
The quagmire the students find themselves has led to protests at some places. Although just a handful, a group of students from Natipora area of city came all the way to Lal Chowk early this month to protest against their inability to attend schools.
The students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) have gone on a hunger strike from September 14 as many of them feel that they have been robbed of the chance to find a decent placement due to the ongoing strike.
The junior batches of engineers are demanding regular class work be started and even expressed their willingness to go for night classes to make up for the lost time.
The other major casualty of the strike in Kashmir has been the business and unorganised labour class.
The state is losing Rs 161 crore per day of shutdown in taxes and other levies, which amounts to Rs 16,100 crore for the 100-day shutdown.
The business community maintains that it loses Rs 100 crore in overheads and opportunity costs per day and has capped its losses so far at Rs 10,000 crore.
The hotels, houseboats and those associated with tourism including transporters and travel agents have been the worst affected.
More than four lakh tourists had visited the Valley even before the season had begun but the hopes of a `bumper harvest` for tourism were dashed with the beginning of the agitation.
As a direct fall out of lack of revenues, the hotels and restaurants began laying off their staff to minimise the losses. More than 60,000 jobs have been cut in the hotel sector alone while another two lakh skilled and unskilled workmen are not able to earn livelihood.
The ongoing unrest has also seen mobs torching government and police properties. The crime branch Headquarters and head office of the Power Development Department are among a dozens of buildings which were set ablaze.
Besides damage worth crores of rupees in these incidents, valuable records have also been lost.
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