Srinagar:- Members of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by Nasir Hamid Khan, former Senior Vice President Chairman General Trade Committee, KCC&I Monday participated in the meeting regarding opening of shops and business establishments convened by the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Mohammad Aijaz Asad.
All major trade bodies and associations also participated.
“Despite the endeavour of the Government towards bringing the economy on track, the grim situation caused by the second wave of Covid had frustrated all such efforts (sic),” said Nasir.
He stated that in April when the second wave had started, the LG had “expressed the intention of the Government to continue to manage both tourism and the Covid situation”. “But the serious situation which developed after that had understandably forced the abandonment of any such plans. The worsening situation had inflicted further damages to the business community and the lockdown-induced stress was not only financial but physical and mental as well,” he said.
The suggestions put forth regarding the opening of markets were:
1). Widening of the essential activities category by including Automobile Service Centres, Books and Stationery Shops, Departmental Stores and Supermarkets, Bakeries, Restaurants sector in it and permitting those dealing in perishables to be open round the clock.
2). Situation permitting so, allowing opening of shops on alternate days.
3). With shopping areas having minimal customer movement like the Polo View Market and other similar zones dependent on tourism, there should be permission to open for five days in a week till the time the tourist inflow increases at which time the administration may take a call keeping in view the Covid pandemic management.
4). Holding of special vaccination camps in the market areas for persons connected with the shops and business establishments.
Fayaz Ahmad Punjabi, President (JCCCC) stated that the members of the business community, unlike salaried and other sections of our society, were facing a three dimensional threat which apart from saving themselves from Covid also included providing sustenance to their families in the face of zero business activities and facing harassment by the Banks and financial institutions who appeared to be oblivious to the pitiable condition of the business community and were even as on today deducting installments from the accounts of guarantors’ of borrowers.
He also appealed to the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar for early operationalisation of the parking area constructed by the administration as vehicles were even today being towed away by the traffic authorities.
All the participating associations presented their views and suggestions for the unlocking mechanism to be adopted by the administration.
DC Srinagar while appreciating the cooperation shown by the business community in Srinagar in fighting the Covid pandemic stated that the Government was fully aware about the prevailing conditions and sufferings of the business community.
He stated that while the COVID positivity rate in Delhi and Jammu had reduced to manageable percentages, the position in Srinagar although steadily improving was still hovering around a dangerous mark which could go either way and waste all the efforts put in for controlling it.
He thanked the members and leaders of the business community for their patience and cooperation and assured them that the Government was as eager as them to resume normal business activities.
He said that the suggestions given by the participants would be considered and a new plan for the current week announced and shared by all of them soon. Regarding the banking issue, the DC stated that he would be taking up the issue with the concerned bank authorities and invited the participants for a joint meeting in the coming days to discuss the alleged harassment by financial institutions.