50 Days On, Kashmir Gripped By Uncertainty

Shikaras parked on the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

SRINAGAR –  Even after 50 days of the spontaneous shutdown in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of State into two Union Territories, there seems to be no end in sight to the prevailing uncertainty prevailing since August 5.  All the major sectors of life that include business and commerce, education, transport, horticulture and tourism are virtually defunct with communication blockade adding more to the uncertainty.

All the major Universities across Kashmir remain closed for the 50th consecutive day. According to the transporters, transport sector has been the worst even as 50,000 vehicles including Tata Sumos and public mini-buses stand grounded. “We are not able to ply because of the shutdown across Kashmir. We don’t want to put our lives on the line,” he said. “We have procured loans to buy vehicles with an only aim to earn a living. But our all hopes stand shattered as since past 50 days, we have not earned a single penny,” Ali Muhammad, a sumo driver.

Similarly, tourism sector has also sustained a major blow since August 5. Majority of the tourism players blame Centre for issuing an advisory asking the tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to vacate Kashmir immediately. The advisory was issued on August 2.

“Our hotels, and houseboats are empty. We are running in huge losses,” says Junaid Rashid, a local tour operator.

Similarly, business sector too have suffered huge losses given the spontaneous shutdown across the Valley. As per tentative estimates, a single day of shutdown costs Kashmir Rs 150 crore losses.

What has added more to the foes of people across Kashmir is the continuous mobile phone suspension. Since August 5, the authorities have only restored landline connective and there has been no official word as to when the mobile phones will be restored in Kashmir. “My father was operated last week and I came to know today as my brother was unable to inform me about it,” said Fehmeeda, who was desperate to board an auto to reach SMHS hospital Srinagar on Monday.
Meanwhile life remained crippled across Kashmir with all shops and business establishments closed and traffic off the roads. However, private vehicles were seen plying on some routes.

Business and other activities remained crippled for the 50th day on Monday in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian. There was also no change in the situation in Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Pattan, Sopore, Handwara and Ajas in north Kashmir. Reports of shutdown were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Budgam.

Divides Families Miss Bus

Families divided due to partition in 1947 continued to suffer due to suspension of the Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PCK) since March 4.

Meanwhile, Cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade also remained suspended from March 4 following ban by Home Ministry.

There are very bleak chance of early resumption of bus service due to prevailing tense situation between India and Pakistan, particularly on the LoC and International Border (IB) following almost daily ceasefire violation by the troops of neighbouring country.

The weekly bus could not operated today also, official sources told UNI.

There are very less chance of early resumption of service due to continued tense situation between India and Pakistan, they said. The relations between the two neighbours further worsened following reports about presence of militants in launch pads in PCK to infiltrate into this side before the upper reaches are closed due to snowfall, they added.

However, the service will be resumed only after receiving green signal from the government, they said.

The bus service was introduced on April 7, 2005 after India and Pakistan agreed to allow families divided in 1947 to meet each other on Travel Permits instead of International Passport.




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