As losses mount, traders seek further relaxation in curbs
After suffering huge losses over the past one year, the shopkeepers and traders today sought relaxation in the Covid-19 lockdown.
“There seems to be no plan for the shopkeepers and traders that have been hit hard by successive lockdowns since August 5 (after abrogation of Article 370) last year. Losses are mounting and now the government should announce when they intend to open shops. Mere shutting of shops is not going to end the pandemic. We have already stated that we are willing to cooperate in the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the marketplaces,” said Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA) president Ajaz Shahdhar.
The continuous lockdown, first in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 and now because of Covid-19, has resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir as per the estimates of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Shahdhar said the business community was going through the worst phase with no end to miseries in sight. “Many traders have started getting mental health issues as they have families to feed. Those who have taken loans have lost sleep. The rapid increase in non-performing assets (NPAs) has become a grave concern. At most of the places outside J&K, there have been more Covid-19 positive cases but they are also doing business. The government should allow opening of marketplaces at the earliest,” he said.
Lockdown had been reimposed in the city from July 13 after a spike in Covid-19 positive cases.