Announce rehab plan or we approach international community, Valley traders tell GoI

Iqbal Kirmani

SRINAGAR: Kashmir Economic Alliance led by its chairman Showkat Chowdhary on Monday asked the government of India to announce a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the flood-hit state before the Assembly elections, else the businessmen would be forced to seek help from the international community.
“We can’t wait any longer. The business fraternity in Kashmir will approach the international community for help to rebuild Kashmir if the government of India fails to announce an adequate relief package,” Chowdhary told a press conference.
Chowdhary said Rs 1,000 crore announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not a relief package but meant for rescue operations during the floods.
“In our recent meeting with the PM, we demanded an immediate relief of Rs 5 lakh for small shop owners and Rs 10 lakh for big shop owners,” said Chowdhary.
Stating that the tourism has suffered losses worth about Rs 250 crore, Chowdhary said the KEA(C) demands a grant of Rs 5-15 lakh each to hotels and guest houses.
The hospitality sector, he said, should be compensated for the daily losses for six months at 50 percent occupancy of the room strength.
Chowdhary said the KEA also demands that the VAT for the second quarter of 2014 shall be collected over the next four quarters in equal installments.
He demanded Rs 5-10 lakh for damaged houseboats, adding 15 houseboats have been damaged fully and 250 partially, while about 600 others have suffered minor damages. Shikara owners shall be given Rs 50,000 each, he said.
Chowdhary said the KEA (C) has presented a comprehensive proposal for the relief and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people.