Srinagar reels under business losses

| Updated on September 13, 2019

Business has come to a halt in the trade hubs of Srinagar, which used to hum with life in the tourist season

The fruit seller covers his face as he stands in front of his shop in the Parimpora Market on the outskirts of Srinagar. He is trying not to smell the stink that rises from his wholesale fruit shop, which he shut more than a month ago. He had purchased a truckload of tender coconuts and pomegranates from Delhi’s Azadpur Market just two days before he downed the shutters, soon after the Central government scrapped Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. He does not know how to get rid of his stock which is still rotting. The owners of some 300 wholesale units operating from Parimpora, one of the largest wholesale markets in the state, have similar tales to relate. Their stock, they say, is rotting. The entire backyard of the market is now filled with putrid apples and pears which cannot be removed because of official clampdowns and unofficial curfews. Farmers and traders say that they have suffered business losses because of protests demanding that the Centre maintain status quo on Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution. Militants have been pressing for a closure of shops and markets.

It’s the tourist season, but there are hardly any visitors in sight. Vehicle movement has been restricted, even on the road close to the Dal Lake. Constables cover their faces, fearing a local backlash, as they divert traffic. The Dal Lake provides employment to an estimated 2 lakh people, but is now deserted. Barring a few vegetable vendors, the traders who sell their ware on shikaras are not to be seen. “This is the world’s biggest jail now. Each of the 7 million people here is under arrest,” says Tariq Ahmed, who runs a houseboat on the Dal.

AM Jigeesh

Published on September 13, 2019

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