Amidst ongoing communication blockade and restrictions in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the internal trade between Jammu and Kashmir has been severely affected. The traders are finding it difficult to communicate, trade their goods and recover the payments. With internet shutdown in Jammu, financial transactions are also getting affected.
NewsClick spoke to Lalit Mahajan, president of Bari Brahamna Industries Association (BBIA), to understand the problems faced by the trading industry in Jammu and Kashmir. According to Mahajan, an estimated loss of Rs 500 crore has been recorded since the revocation of Article 370, which led to closing down of communication channels. “Because of the communication blockade, the payment for the goods has been held up. There is no contact with the buyer and with the transport labourers once they cross Udhampur. There are a lot many items which are traded from Jammu to Kashmir including wheat, food products and packaging material. All of that is halted as of now. I request the Government of India that communication blockade should be lifted so that our work is not affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, fruit growers in Kashmir are dealing with financial losses and massive wastage as the season has begun and the fruits have started to decay in the absence of transportation and proper communication channels. “Due to the prevailing condition, it has become difficult to arrange for transport. There is no communication at all. This is apple season and there are no cold storage facilities as such. The harvest has started to perish. The trucks are not willing to enter Kashmir because of the uncertain situation. The truck drivers are fearing for their lives. There is a sense of insecurity and fear. We are facing the financial brunt of this decision. This is not development that Modi promised,” a Kashmiri trader visiting Jammu told NewsClick.
Mahajan added, “This apple season, we are unable to send packaging material from Jammu to Kashmir, which is used there to pack the apples.”
Besides, the little supply of apples that is coming from the Valley is unable to fetch a good price, said the trader.
“Number of trucks used for transportation of goods is less owing to the uncertain situation. Earlier, the truck used to charge Rs 17,000, but now, for the same work, the trucks are charging Rs 25,000. It has become difficult to arrange for transportation and we are unable to keep a track on the passage of truck,” he added.
Meanwhile, it has been almost a month since the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has been stripped off its autonomy. The entire valley stands cut off from the rest of the world, while government is asserting that the situation has sprung back to normal.