JAMMU, Aug 13: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) today termed the indefinite lockdown of business establishments in Kashmir especially Srinagar, as a serious infringement on the rights of the business community to earn a livelihood.
“Despite full cooperation extended by the general public and the business community, the administration appeared to be running around in circles since the previous five months and seem oblivious to the fact that the business community of Kashmir is presently in the 13th month of a disruption which has wiped out enterprises and devastated the economy,” a KCCI spokesman said.
He further said that despite total cases numbering 5.35 lakhs with a daily average of 1,700 cases since previous two months Mumbai has now entered it’s Unlock 3.0 phase. A population of more than 2 crores living in an area of 603 sq km as compared to Srinagar’s population of around 17 lakhs in an area of 294 sq km. A six times higher population density of 33,168 persons per sq km as compared to 5,782 persons per sq km in Srinagar. On August 3, 2020 the BMC has allowed all shops – essential and non-essential – to open all day except in containment zones. Only theatres, food courts, in-house dining in restaurants, bars and gaming zones, street vendors and hawkers, continue to be prohibited. There are currently around 700 containment zones in Mumbai but unlike in Srinagar, they mostly consist of individual buildings and chawls/slums. Here, the administration cannot be bothered to stop tweeting and identify individual houses. They simply barbwire-off entire neighbourhoods, if not the entire districts.Saves a lot of hard work.
With six times the population density, gradual opening of business establishments and the population being allowed much more movement, the infection rate of around 2.65 percent not been seen as a very successful operation but speaks volumes about the intent of the Maharashtra Government to provide avenues of livelihood and it’s concern for the welfare of the public, he added.
The spokesmans said DDMA funds have been spent on purchase of barriers despite Kashmir having the highest inventory of barriers including barbed wires available. The prices of critical medical equipment including Oxygen concentrators has skyrocketed without any system of checks and balances in place. Butchers are hauled in for selling meat at meagerly higher prices but no attention is being paid to regulate the prices of these essential and critical medical equipment. Shopkeepers, pushed against the wall by the financial stress and in pursuit of bringing food to the family are being forced to operate like smugglers and reports of excessive harassment by various enforcement agencies are pouring in.
At the district levels, confusing amendments have been made to the comprehensive guidelines issued by the Chairman of the State Disaster Management Authority. A majority of the public has no idea of what the guidelines are. Banks were open throughout but no care was taken to monitor their functioning resulting in reports of largest COVID clusters emerging from Banks. The royals have been enjoying their golf rounds without any break whereas the shopkeepers are put behind bars for seeking to feed their families out of frustration.