Economic losses due to the September Floods are not restricted to destruction of merchandise and stocks, and damage to infrastructure, alone but could also have a cascading impact to become evident with the passage of time.
Having picked up over the years, tourism has come to a halt, adding unemployment in the hospitality industry to the sector’s list of woes. A similar spectre hovers over agriculture and horticulture which has suffered major damage first due to incessant rains and then because of massive flooding.
The commercial hub of Srinagar, Lal Chowk and its adjoining markets, is bereft of its daily business turnover of Rs 200 crore, with grave consequences for thousands of young people working as sales and shop assistants, and in a variety of capacities in other commercial enterprises.
The floods’ economic costs can be accompanied by serious social consequences as well unless institutions befitting from the state economy, like banks, insurance companies and corporates who need to join hands for helping in the reconstruction. This would also be in their own interest. Such entities need not behave like fair weather friends and sidle out of sight when the going gets tough.
For example, banks operating in the state have not announced any substantial package except for ‘restructuring’ loans which would appear to be driven more by bottom line concerns. Similarly, cellular companies, who earn millions without paying a penny in taxes to the state under special exemptions, have offered nothing substantial except symbolic gestures. Surely, something more meaningful than free nighttime calls was warranted.