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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Strikes Cause Havoc to Kashmir's Economy

Why are people taking it lying down?

Valley transporters lose Rs 30 lakh every strike, curfew day

Srinagar: With strikes and undeclared curfews becoming more prevalent, Kashmir’s transport sector is feeling the pinch. Around 1500 commercial mini buses that ply within the Valley suffer losses of more than Rs 30 lakh on every strike, curfew day owing to halt in their services.

Showkat Ahmad, member of Western Mini Bus Association told Rising Kashmir that this sector has been the worst hit because of strikes and undeclared curfews as losses in this sector cannot be compensated when strikes are called off.

“Our earnings are dependent on daily commuters who avail our services, and once a strike is there everything is put to halt,” said Showkat adding that estimated earnings from a mini bus plying in Srinagar is around Rs 2000 out of which a good percentage goes into fuel, taxes and maintenance.

The worst hit are the old city operations carried mostly by Eastern Mini Bus service which caters to the city as well as suburban areas like Buchpora, Ahmad Nagar and Hazratbal.

Mini buses enroute to old city areas have to suffer more as the situations remains tense in some of the areas forcing the operators to call off their services.

“There is always uncertainly on how the day will progress and this year too due to elections the situation in old city has been volatile forcing us to limit our operations,” said Nazir Ahmad, driver of a mini bus adding that at times they have to take longer routes to reach their destination which again adds to the fuel expenses.

Nazir said that they are the major victim of strikes, curfews and restrictions imposed during the past 20 years.

“In past 20 years we must have grounded our services for more than three years, and this surely is a huge loss to this sector,” said Nazir adding that no one is even bothered to compensate this loss and this has now directly affected our family lives and our standard of living has gone down considerably.

The total number of Mini buses registered with the office of the Regional Transport Officer Kashmir is 3500, however out of these 1500 are commercial that carry passengers and the rest belong to different government departments, schools and other Nongovernmental organizations.

In towns like Baramulla, Anantnag and Sopore the mini bus operators also report of losses due to strikes and curfews.

(Rising Kashmir)

1 comment:

TheKashmiris said...

1500 vehicles * 2000 earning = 30 lakh per day is wrong calculation. On an average 50% of earning goes into fuel expenses but during strikes no fuel is actually used so most close guess can be around 15 lakh per day.