Srinagar, February 27 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, business community including traders, hoteliers, silk producers, artisans, fruit associations and other trade and commerce bodies have sent out an SOS in a full-page advertisement published in several local dailies.

The SOS message emphasises that the ill-fated trade, tourism, horticulture, agriculture, handicrafts, commerce and industrial community of Kashmiris is in the middle of the sea of debt and destruction”.

“Approximately 1000 days of standstill since 2008 until this day due to uprising, made our survival vulnerable,” the SOS message says. It also also takes a dig at the authorities for selling false dreams at a time when the local business community is in distress, suffering crores of losses due to the communication shutdown imposed by the Indian government on August 5 last year when it repealed Kashmir’s special status.

“How cruel can the system be when fraternity is being enticed for investments, sky is the limit, has been sold as dreams. But when the same community gets trapped due to system failures, the same system leaves the community in shambles and start selling false dreams to new entrepreneurs,” the SOS message points out.

The SOS message ad has been jointly published by a number of trade and commerce bodies such as the Kashmir Chamber Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Kashmir Trade and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), PHD Chamber of Commerce (Kashmir chapter), Transport Welfare Association (TWA), Travel Agent Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Artisans Rehabilitation Forum (ARF), Kashmir Silk Producers(KSP), among other trade associations and bodies representing a cross-section of business and trade organisations of the Valley.

The KCCI president, Sheikh Ashiq told media that the community needed to get its message out. “There has been panic and an unprecedented situation for the business community of occupied Kashmir, which is in distress. The business community has come together to send out this message that they’re facing very difficult times especially since August 5 last year,” said Ashiq.

The lockdown and communications shutdown after August 5 last year has reportedly cost the business community losses amounting to more than Rs 10,000 crore. Several sectors like handicrafts and e-commerce that were directly dependent on the internet connectivity for businesses were the worst hit.

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