City Mood Somber Ahead of Eid-al-Azha

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Srinagar— The usual buzz in the markets in the summer capital is missing, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, one of the two holiest festivals of Muslims, with the trade bodies attributing the slow business to political uncertainty in the state and implementation of GST.

There is no rush of customers in the markets in Srinagar for Eid shopping. Shops selling Eid special items like ready made garments, clothes, shoes, and eatables like bakery products and sweets are doing little business, says member of a trading body.

The sale of sacrificial animals is going on at many places in the city, but very less than normal.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Mushtaq Ahmad Wani attributed the slump in the business to political uncertainty over threat to Article 35A of the constitution.

“There is no rush, no business. People of the valley are withholding their money because there is uncertainty over the issue of Article 35A,” Wani said.

He said another reason for the decline in the business is the implementation of Goods and Services Tax.

“No goods are coming in to the valley because of the GST.

It will take some time to streamline the new tax regime. Then the business of handicrafts is down, exports are down and tourism is also down,” the KCCI president said.

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) an amalgam of various manufacturing and trade bodies in the valley chairman Mohammad Yaseeen Khan said the business activities in Kashmir have slowed down after the devastating floods of 2014.

“The business has gone down after the 2014 floods. What we are seeing on Eid is not even normal business.

Demonetisation, GST and now this political uncertainty over Article 35A has added to our woes,” he said.

Khan said other factors, like less number of tourists arriving here, has also marred the business.

“The tourism is nowhere. There is uncertainty and people keep thinking what will happen next, like will there be an agitation like the last year (over threat to Article 35A),” he said.

He said there is only about 10-15 per cent of business happening in the valley.

“Few months before when there was no GST or the issue of Article 35A, the business was about 30-40 per cent. But now there is only about 10-15 per cent,” he said.

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