Introduction to KashmirForum.org 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.
www.kashmirforum.org

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"As You Sow, So Shall You Reap"

Sajad describes one aspect of the havoc caused by mindless hartals imposed by Separatists

(Mr. Sajad Kralyari, 28, was born in Kralyar, Srinagar. He had his early schooling at the General Public Mission (GPM) School, and his higher secondary education from the Government High School. He completed his B.Sc. from the Gandhi Memorial College, Rainawari, Srinagar, and Master's degree in journalism from the Media Educational Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir in 2008. He subsequently did a brief stint in New Delhi before returning as a correspondent for the Rising Kashmir, working on business and economy related stories.)

Concern - Kashmir Halt May Trigger Job Crisis

Srinagar: At least 60,000 workers in Kashmir’s tourism sector are likely to lose their jobs, if the prevailing unrest continues in the valley.

Around 10,000 employees in micro and medium-size industries also face the axe. Besides, 300 business establishments are on the verge of going solvent as they are unable to pay debt, pay off loans, wages, tariffs and taxes.

There are 3,500 hotels with at least 25,000 rooms with zero-occupancy due to continuing curfews, restrictions and shutdowns.

“At least one lakh employees are associated with the hotel industry in the valley. We have to bear their salaries without having any work. Now the disturbance has entered third month and we paying all electricity bill, taxes, and giving salaries to our employees. If the situation continues, I fear it would lead to mass lay off by the hoteliers,” said Senior Vice President Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Faiz Ahmad Baskhi.

“We get no enquires now from tourists which means there are no tourist for us up to May next year. This will lead to sacking of at least 50,000 employees,” said Bakshi.

Likewise, the tour and travel operators are also thinking of purging their employees if the unrest prolongs.

At least 4000 employees are working with about 600 registered tour and travel operators in the valley.

“We have to pay at least Rs 8000 per month on an average to each employee. With not tourist arrival, we can’t pay their salary. The lay-off of the employees has already started,” said one of the office bearers of a local travel agents associations, wishing not to be named.

Around 300 business units are also on the verge of going solvent as they are unable to pay debt, tariff and wages to their employers. Besides, the unpredictable situation in the valley has also cast its shadow on the future investment here.

“We have revived some 300 units for the past several years after seeking soft loans from the government and the banks but now they will again go sick. Their accounts have turned into non-performing assets. They have to pay back loan besides other expenses,” said President Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Shakeel Qalander.

Qalander said around 1000 units are set to lay off at least 10,000 employees.

“It is not possible for them to pay their workers. They will lay off their employees,” he said.

Qalander said the investment of around Rs 200 crore is in pipeline for setting up of small scale to medium-size units which may also get affected.

“We were really happy to see some good business establishments coming up here including two polymer units at industrial area Lassipora, steel rolling mills besides hatchery and plywood units. But the present unrest has cast doubt over their take off,” said President FCIK.

Notably, the ESSAR group of industries had already started Jammu and Kashmir’s first International Business Process Outsourcing company which would generate 4,000 jobs in the state. So far no employees have been laid off but its functioning has been badly affected.

“Presently, 235 employees are working with this company here and no one has been fired. However, work has got affected. I will try my best to let the company stay here only,” said ESSAR’s JK President Zahoor Malik.

1 comment:

Vijay said...

Are Kashmiris their own worst enemies? While the civilized world embraces diversity, tolerance and progress, the Separatist leaders led by Geelani and Umar preach opposite of these virtues. The result is the young 'under 19' minds in Kashmir are mentally highly reactive and throw stones at the flimsiest provocation.

SriSri RaviShankar , Ma Amritanadamayi and faith preachers of love need to be invited to Kashmir. They don't preach religion but only love. Unfortunately, Kashmiris are hooked to a TV channel mistakenly call the "Peace TV". It adds further to the instability of the 'under 19 Kashmiri' minds.