Kashmir Clampdown: Over 10 Lakh Workers Lose Jobs 

SRINAGAR – Over ten lakh workers, half of them outsiders, have lost their jobs in Kashmir valley after August 5, when centre abrogated Article 370 and 35 A, besides divided the state into two Union Territories.

Shortly before announcing scrapping of special status of the state, central government ordered all outsiders, including tourists, Amarnath pilgrims and workers, to leave the valley. Students of different professional colleges, including NIT Srinagar, were also asked to leave for home.

About four lakh construction and other workers from different parts of the country, including Bihar, West Bengal (WB), Uttar Pradesh (UP), Punjab and Rajasthan, also left the valley. Though majority of them left on their own, others were asked by police to leave for safety reasons.

However, carpenters belonging to Sikh community from Punjab have returned to valley after leaving for a short duration. Migration of work force from the valley to their homes had badly hit thousands of industrial units, which remain closed since August 5, causing a loss of billions of rupees.

Over 200 units in Industrial Estate Khanmoh in south Kashmir district of Pulwama are totally closed due to strike against the scrapping of Article 370 and 35 A on August 5. “We are suffering a loss of over Rs 3 crore daily due to total closure of these units,” president of the Industrial Estate Zubair Ahmad said.

“There were 40,000 workers from different parts of the country who left immediately after government ordered them to leave,” he said, adding it was 40 per cent of the total work force working in these units.

Over one lakh local workers were also left jobless after August 5 announcement by the centre, he added.

Not a single unit is working since August 5, he said, adding these units have suffered a loss of about 200 crore and nobody knows when the situation will become normal.

However, he said, even if situation will return to normal it will take months to bring back the outside workers.

Ahmad said all unit holders have taken loan from banks and other financial institutions. “How can we repay the bank loan installment when there is no production,” he asked.

He demanded that government should constitute and send a committee to Industrial estate to assess the losses suffered by the unit holders due to strike after centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A.

Similarly, units in other major Industrial Estates across the valley also remained closed due to which they have suffered a loss of billions of rupees since August 5. (Agencies)

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