Meeting with Govt. fails, traders to go ahead with bandh

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Srinagar: The trade bodies of Valley are holding a bandh today against the inordinate delay in compensation to the flood-affected traders. Various trade bodies including Valley Traders and Manufacturers Federation have joined the strike on the first day of the reopening of the offices to press home their grievances. 

Earlier, the government had requested traders to give it more time to meet their demands. According to sources, the one hour long meeting between the traders and finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu, ended on  a sour note with traders refusing to call off the bandh.

“The government tried much to stop the bandh and asked for more time but we refused to follow the diktats. We will welcome the government at Budshah Chowk today,” one of the traders who was the part of the meeting said.

President of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation Yasin Khan said that the government had slept over the demands of the traders for far too long. “It has been eight months now and the government has failed to compensate traders thousands of whom lost livelihood in last year’s floods,” he said. “At a time when the business community is struggling to recover from the losses caused by the floods, the chief minister is busy romancing in Bollywood.”

Meanwhile, the bandh was also supported by the Valley Traders and Manufacturers Federation. “We support the strike call to express solidarity with flood-affected traders who are yet to be rehabilitated despite tall claims by the authorities. Even traders from severely affected areas have not been compensated till date,” VTMF president Muhammad Altaf Dar said in a statement.

“If the affected traders are not immediately compensated, the Federation will be forced to formulate a protest program in consultation with all other trader bodies,” Dar warned.

Meanwhile, the Hari Singh High Street Traders Association, Shaher-e-Khaas Coordination Committee, Bazar Committee BudShah Nagar, Nowgam, Naikbagh and  Chinar Traders Association Sumbal  have also extended support to the strike call given by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) on Tuesday. “We have already asked all the traders in Sumbal Sonawari belt to observe a complete shutdown on Tuesday,” president CTA, Jan Muhammad Gojri said. 

Meanwhile Private Schools United Front and all other private school association decided not to support Hartal call. “Since schools already face problems and more than 8 months have already been wasted, we cannot shut schools off and on,” Private Schools association chief Ghulam Nabi Var said.

The flood damage assessment done by the state government has pegged the loss at 1 lakh crore and sought a package of Rs 44,000 crore from the Centre to kickstart the reconstruction and rehabilitation work.

According to the preliminary official data, the floods have impacted 12.5 lakh families, damaged 3.5 lakh structures, most of them residential houses, including 83,000 pucca houses and 21,162 kutcha houses, and 1.5 lakh partially damaged houses. There are similarly massive losses in agriculture, horticulture and tourism and businesses. Traders in Srinagar have been the worst hit.  In business hubs like Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Maisuma etc, around ten feet water drowned the rows of shops along with their merchandise. 

Transport to ply 

Srinagar;  Transporters in Kashmir Monday said that they  will not support the strike call given by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) today.

Transporters Welfare Association spokesperson said that they are not part of the strike call and they have already informed all the transporters to abstain from the shutdown call of KTMF against delay in compensation to flood affected traders.

“KTMF did not approach us and nor are we part of that Federation. Transport on roads will ply normally,” he said. 

Flood victims ‘dragged out’ from Govt building

Srinagar:  Scores of flood victims from saffron town Pampore of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Monday staged a protest in Srinagar alleging that authorities forcibly dragged them out of the SRTC building and as a result they have been spending days and nights in the  open.

The flood victims carrying placards and banners seeking actions against the officials who according to them not only ransacked their belongings but also misbehaved with the female occupants. 

“Government had provided accommodation to 46 families whose houses were completely damaged during September 2014 floods. We have not constructed our houses yet and some of us even lack resources to do so. Instead of providing relief to the flood victims the government is adding to their woes and forcing them to spend time in the open,” one of the protesters said.

The protesters alleged that district administration officials accompanied by CRPF personnel misbehaved with the people and forcibly dragged them out. They appealed to the government to look into the matter on compassionate basis. (CNS)

 

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