Pardeep Singh Bali
Following the lingering unrest in Kashmir valley, the decline in tourism footfall in Jammu and Kashmir is evident, which has, so far, caused over Rs 1.5 crore losses to the dry fruit market in Jammu.
There are around 78 business establishments dealing with the sale of dry fruits in Jammu District only.
“As sales of dry fruits have declined by about 70 percent, the retailers in Jammu have suffered losses of Rs 15288000 in Jammu District in the last 56 days”, Jyoti Gupta, President-Jammu Dry Fruit Retailers Association said.
Explaining about the losses in detail, he said that a dry fruit merchant, on an average, in Jammu earns Rs 5000 a day and if this figure has to be multiplied by 78 total business establishments, the 78 owners earn an amount of Rs 39000 per day.
“Had situation remained normal in the last 56 days and tourists visited Jammu as usual, the dry fruit retailers would have earned an amount of Rs 21840000 with average sale of Rs 39000 a day. But the sales have declined to Rs 6552000 leading to a loss of Rs.15288000”.
According to Gupta, the tourists as well as pilgrims used to purchase dry fruits from Jammu City after visiting various pilgrim as well as tourist destinations of the region. “But since July this year, after trouble in Kashmir, there has been a steep decline in the number of tourists and pilgrims” he added. Gupta said that with continuous tension in Kashmir, the tourists are also avoiding to visit Jammu.
“Most of them (Tourists) perceive Jammu and Kashmir as ‘Kashmir’ and after watching news about the tension in the valley, they defer their plans to visit the tourist destinations of Jammu also”, he said, adding, “Owing to this, most of the hotels are empty in Jammu even as they are now offering heavy discounts. Similarly sale and purchase of other commodities has also been affected”. “The sale of dry fruits and other items had already decreased manifolds in Jammu City after direct train service to Katra Town. With this long spell of unrest, we are on the verge of starvation”, Gupta added.
Pardeep Singh Bali