Srinagar: A business amalgam on Wednesday reiterated its shutdown call for September 7 and issued a weekly programme to highlight the Indian and J&K government’s failure to rehabilitate the victims of last year’s floods. The Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), a conglomerate of 16 business organisations, and a faction of the Kashmir Traders Manufactures Federation, led by Sadiq Baqal, issued a joint program asking traders, employees and educational institutions to observe September 7 as a “black day”.
Talking to reporters, KEA Chairman Showkat Chowdhary said the business community would hold a seminar on September 4-5 to highlight the destruction caused to the tourism, education and industry sector by the floods. The first day of the seminar is scheduled to be held at Lake View Park, while as, on September 5, the post-flood issues facing the transport, traders and horticulture industry would be taken up at Batamaloo. Then, on September 7, a ‘massive protest’ is being planned at Lal Chowk in Srinagar
“The Indian government promised us that it will give Rs 5 lakh for destroyed homes, Rs 2 lakh to damaged light motor vehicles and Rs 5 lakh for heavy vehicles and soft loans to the business community. A year later, we ask them: where is the amount?” Showkat said. Immediately after the floods, Showkat added, Narendra Modi ‘prevented’ the international community from providing aid to Kashmiris because he wanted to “rehabilitate us himself”, but a year later, Modi sanctioned more than one lakh crore for Bihar where elections are to be held, but forgot about Kashmiris.
“If he had no money, why did he stop the international community? Today, we ask Modi to let them come in and provide us aid. Modi’s attitude has made us realise that as long as we are slaves, we cannot do anything,” Showkat said. He also warned both the state government and the RSS against trying to sabotage the amalgam’s programme. Speaking on the occasion, Baqal asked the state government to step down as it has “no moral or ethical ground to rule us as it has failed to fulfill its promises”.
On September 7 last year, the worst floods in around 100 years hit the Valley. According to government estimates, the destruction caused was around one hundred lakh crore. The previous state government had then submitted a relief package proposal of Rs 44,000 crore to the Indian government, which was also pursued by the PDP-led government; however, the Indian government has not agreed to it.
While, reportedly, about one-third of 87,000 damaged structures in Srinagar have received relief under the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund (PMNRF), it is alleged that both the Indian and state governments have not been able to rehabilitate most of the flood-affected people, particularly the business community.