Serious Study Report by: Harbans S Nagokay.
The prevailing unrest in Kashmir has apparently crumbled the business community of Jammu region and despite dying business in Jammu the center is ‘parachuting’ aid to valley, thus depriving Jammu traders of their share.
Various social establishments, business communities, trade unions, tourism associations and other related organizations have tried lot to meet Union Home Minister-Rajnath Singh, who is on two days visit of Kashmir valley, but amazingly; no one among the above turned-out else preferred to meet representatives.
Contrary to the claims of state government of making all round development in Jammu and Kashmir, every citizen of this state is falling under Below Poverty Line (BPL). But, if truth be told; unrest in Kashmir has badly affected the economy of Jammu and Ladakh.
At Jammu alone; business losses estimated to the tune of Rs 2,000 crores (aprox.); during past 49 days. Kashmir takes majority of supplies from rations to fuel, machineries’ to equipments, medicines & drugs, pulses, eatables, fresh-vegetables & industrial goods etc. from Jammu as major wholesales, depots & industries in the state are situated in Jammu. And, most of the multinational companies supplying provisions & vitals to the state have stationed their local agents at Jammu, hence all the supplies be made through Jammu region before reaching Kashmir, Kargil or Ladakh.
From the last about two months, not only business or sales of traders, industries but tourism etc. also badly affected in Jammu, but due payments and collections as well as unsold stocks had also seriously made the economies worst for Jammu based businessmen. The huge liabilities, day-to- day expenses and loans/intolerable interests against their credit limits alongside taxes & allied liabilities, are also now been into being as painful.
The vendors and contractors, those are involved in supplies of vitals to various Govt. departments, are also in severe troubles with reduced demands else no supplies due to transport hurdles and threats together side meager payments there-from.
Transport sector, is already in bad debts, otherwise in serious threats of harms. Hotels are empty.
Yatra season has also gone pitiable. National-Highway, to Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh, is almost near close as deserted looking scenes hardly allow drivers to show courage for moving ahead. Lower- Munda check post; where 30-40 thousands trucks pass in a month, now figure gone down near 10 thousand only.
In short, Jammu industry and business is heavily dependent on Kashmir, which is the major market and leaving countless impacts up to fear closure of many units. Yes! Without a doubt, Kashmir Valley, where fruit season is on also fears that the apple industry in Kashmir has suffered losses of around or above Rs. 100 crore causing distressed among Jammu fruit business along with trade-threats to Cold Storage industries as well.
Coca-Cola and other big names used to buy fresh juice pulp from valley based orchard with eight different varieties of apples and other fruits, might also be exploring other opportunities, saying goodbye to fruit growers and truckers else agents or even daily wager labourers etc. of Jammu are in deep troubles.
According to an economic survey revealed in 2011-12, this has been reviewed that 21.63 percent population of JK is falling under BPL category which includes 26.14 percent rural population and 7.96 percent urban. A total of 24.21 lakh people are living under BPL category which includes 22 lakhs in rural areas and 7.96 percent residing in urban areas of state. And, majority depends upon private business & trade being conducted here, every season.
The report further disclosed that Jammu and Kashmir lagged behind the national average in reducing poverty in the span of one decade. “From year 1993-94 to 2007-08 the all-India level of poverty has shown decline of 23.55 percent but Jammu and Kashmir has shown only decline by 14.06 percent in last 10 years.” One can easily estimate & predict now on this average that might had been reduced further in the recent past, here.
The total BPL estimated population ratio in Kashmir has been worked out as 21.37 percent (12.91 lakh persons) while Jammu division recorded 21.67 percent BPL population (10.59 persons). The Ladakh region has shown estimated population as highest and stood at 27.03 percent (0.71 lakh persons).
Members of business community of Jammu region and peace loving residents of this region also have some expectations on this alarming situation from their elected leaders & desired Government, together along Kashmir. Hope now is increasing toward soliciting their immediate kind attentions, before too long. Else, the day is not far behind when these urban poor, may also left with no other options, than to raise their voices.