Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why J&K State Will Never Prosper: Commercial Business Losses Until mid-August Amounted to About 5,000 Crores

Since Mid-August the numbers must have gone up significantly since the valley is up in arms again

Agitation Costs Kashmir Industry Rs 1,500 Cr Losses

Srinagar: Economic activity in Jammu and Kashmir has been severely impacted due to the ongoing agitation in the region, resulting in a loss of Rs 1,500 crore to the state's industry in the past couple of weeks, Assocham said.Among the sectors worst hit by the agitation and state-wide protests are tourism, silk, hosiery, carpets, handicrafts, fruits, tourism, forest-based and herbal products, the chamber said.

"If the agitation continues, Jammu and Kashmir's economy will suffer a major jolt as investors that have committed over Rs 5,000 crore worth of investment for 2008-09 would venture into neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh," Assocham President Sajjan Jindal said.

The region has witnessed several violent protests during the last few days over the Amarnath land transfer row.

The industries have also not been able to fulfil their respective export commitments. Exports from the region have declined by about 30 per cent in view of the ongoing agitation, due to which movement of goods, particularly fruit and other items has come to a standstill, he said.

In an appeal to political parties, Jindal said efforts should be made to arrive at an amicable solution for restoring normalcy in the state. With law and order improving in the state in the past few years, investment proposals by companies had grown 10-fold from around 200 million dollar in 2001 to more than 2,300 million dollar in 2007.

While this investment could multiply manifold, such agitations discourage investors and threaten the peace in the region. According to recent study by the chamber, fresh investments of Rs 28,000 crore were expected to flow in Jammu and Kashmir by 2012, creating employment opportunities for 25 lakh people.

Bandh hits industry hard, losses mount to Rs 3,200 crore

Jammu: The Jammu industry is going through one of its worst phases these days.
First it was withdrawal of excise concessions. The trouble coupled when it was hit by a severe power crisis. Then it was the turmoil over the Amarnath land row.

Over the last about 50 days, as per the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the losses have mounted to Rs 3,200 crore.

The Association of Small-scale Industries president Rajesh Jain said the industry in Jammu was suffering a production loss of Rs 300 crore per day.

“Our factories have been shut for the past many days. The banking operations have come to a grinding halt. We don’t have the raw material and our labourers have also fled to their native places. The scenario could not have been worse for the industry in Jammu,” he lamented.
The migrant labourers who fled the state, could not cope up with the continuous shutdown, curfew, and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

Prior to the shutdown over the land row, he said, the breakdown in Gladini Power Grid had forced them to run their factories merely in a single shift.

“We were not even getting adequate power to run the sole shift properly. There were many disruptions in the eight-hour power supply that was promised to us,” he said.

Referring to the Centre’s “indifferent approach”, he said, “We have always been meted out step-motherly treatment. While the Centre has announced compensation for Kashmiri fruit growers whose fruit is yet to ripe, it should also consider our genuine losses.” Kuldeep Jamwal, an industrialist from Samba, said not only their factories but their offices too were shut since July 25.

He said 60 per cent of their labourers have fled the state till now. In the wake of the current situation, he apprehended that the big firms, which have set up their industry in Jammu, might not proceed on their expansion plans and instead consider shifting to some other state.
He said though they have requested the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti to allow them to resume their operations, even if they are given a go ahead it will take them another 15 days to bring the operations back on the track.

CCI president Ram Sahai termed it the worst period for the economy of Jammu. He allayed the fears that the multinational companies may shift their operations to some other state due to the ongoing turmoil.

“They have suspended their expansion plans as of now, but none of them have made their mind to withdraw it totally,” he said.

Huge losses to trade and industry notwithstanding, Sahai said being a member of the samiti, the CCI would extend full support to the agitation and would not rest till the land is restored to the Amarnath Shrine Board.

No comments: