The shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, after the Centre stripped its special status under Article 370, has led to losses of Rs 10,000 crore in three months, a trade body has said. Sheikh Ashiq, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was difficult to assess the nature of losses as the situation in the valley is not normal yet.

“The running business losses for Kashmir have crossed Rs. 10,000 crore and all sectors have been severely hit. It has been nearly three months now and yet the people are not doing business because of the prevailing situation. There has been some activity in the recent weeks, but the feedback that we are getting is that the business is dull,” Ashiq told news agency PTI.

The unprecedented communication block in the Valley with no availability of the internet has affected the population severely. “In today’s times, the basic need of any business is access to internet. We have conveyed it to the administration that the businesses will suffer in Kashmir and the economy will weaken. This will have huge consequences in the longer run,” he said.

Citing various sectors, Ashiq said the Information Technology is an upcoming sector and there are companies which were providing services in US, Europe, whose business has been affected by the suspension of internet facilities.

“If we take the handicraft sector, people associated with the trade receive orders in July-August and have to deliver the products around Christmas and New Year. When they can implement these orders, only then would they be served. There is no connectivity, so there were no orders resulting in loss of jobs to over 50,000 artisans and weavers,” he said.

The KCCI president said the government should own responsibility for the losses and take steps to mitigate the sufferings of the traders.

“This is not about losses in business only. We will be facing technical issues like GST, online returns, whether you make business or not, we will face them and other issues like that. We are not falling under certain guidelines because we are missing them. So there should be a system for these things.”

“We are disturbed even at the moment. Who will think about this? The government has to take the responsibility and it has to come out with the ways,” he said.

Two apple truck drivers were shot dead and their vehicles set on fire in south Kashmir’s Shopian district police said on October 25, in the latest attack on the vital local fruit industry. On¬†October 14, two terrorists, including a suspected Pakistani national, shot dead the driver of a truck having Rajasthan registration and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district. Two days later, Punjab-based apple trader Charanjeet Singh was killed and another injured when terrorists attacked them in Shopian district.

In in the last one and a half month, NAFED, which is the nodal agency for procuring apples, procure less than 3,000 metric tonnes of apples.