Finance Minister has presented the detailed report of financial losses suffered by the State during five month long strikes and shut downs in summer 2016 in Kashmir valley. Losses touch a whooping figure of rupees 16,000 crore from 8 July to 30 November 2016. Nobody in the State except those who had been issuing the hartal calendar regularly for five months will be happy with the figures doled out by the report. What one is tempted to say after going through the report is that Kashmiris have tremendous capacity of self-torture and self delusion. Any sensible community would hang its head in shame after being informed by reliable sources about the magnitude of the losses they have inflicted upon themselves on the behest and prompting of others who have no interests in Kashmir other than sadistically witnessing its descent into chaos. The commonplace question on the lips of all bewildered citizens in Kashmir is “what have the callers of strikes gained at the end of the day?” Yes, they have gained one thing and that is they have satisfied their ego of showing down their political enemies that they are more popular with the youth of the Valley and would interact more briskly with them. But what does the youth think about it? That is the crucial question. The hartal leaders will only stick their heads into sand like the ostrich and see nothing around them. But the figures quoted by the Finance Minister on the floor of the House have to be the eye-opener for everybody. To put it succinctly, the conflict reduced Per Capita GDP growth, FDI inflows, export, trade flows, domestic investment, tourism inflow, etc besides redirecting public expenditure to security related expenditure. The estimated loss suffered by Industrial sector during 130 days of hartals and curfew, is of the order of Rs 13,291 crores, comprising of Rs 6,548 crore of Private sector and Rs 6,713 crores of Government sector. The estimated turnover and revenue loss in Rs 13291 crores is of the order of Rs 11555 crores (Private sector Rs 5720 crores and Government sector Rs 5835 crores) and Rs 1736 crores (Private sector Rs 858 crores and Government sector Rs 878 crores), respectively.
There is hardly any sector of activity that has not suffered losses according to its capacity. After July 8, tourist activity in the valley was reduced almost to zero because owing to stories of unrest, no tourist was ready to undertake the visit to Kashmir. There was almost zero recording of foreign tourists after the killing of Burhan Wani. A host of professionals are linked with tourism industry like houseboat owners, shikarawalas, taxi drivers, hoteliers, handicrafts lovers, hikers, anglers and naturalists. They one and all suffered in their turn. The worst sufferers were the students who were stopped from attending their classes with the result that the Government had to declare mass promotion of students up to 9th class as they became helpless victims of vandalism. Losses of Small Scale Industrial units their turnover loss was Rs 1800 crore and revenue loss touched Rs 275 crores. During 2015-16, the number of tourist who visited the Valley stood at 6, 23,932 including 2, 20,490 Amarnath yatris. Private and public transport, both suffered heavy losses. J&K Transport Corporation suffered loss of revenue to the tune of Rs 5.25 crore as compared to last year and its 182 vehicles, including 76 trucks, were damaged by miscreants.
When we say the State has suffered these huge losses, what does that actually mean? Actually whose losses are these? These are the losses of the people of the State. Losses do not distinguish between caste, creed or colour; losses are to be shared by the people of the State. Imagine how much would have been added to the GP if the State was not forced to suffer such huge losses. How much employment could have been generated and how much investment could have been made can be easily gauged from the quantum of losses that we have suffered.
Our enemies across the border are happy that we have been subjected to such huge financial losses in the valley. It is so because most of it is of their making. These figures should make it clear upon the masses of people in the valley what Pakistan and its local agents want to do with Kashmir. They have to be sensible enough not to fall in their trap. If they really want a prosperous Kashmir, then they have to ensure that they desist from destructive activities like those into which they indulged during summer 2016.