Startups badly hit due to frequent internet blockade, suffer huge losses


Situation in the Valley has become quite tough and challenging due to frequent e-curfew imposed by the authorities. The clampdown has not only affected the students but also the business community has suffered huge losses.

The new startups of the Valley, in the e-commerce sector, have faced big losses, due to their heavy dependence on the availability of internet.

Muhammad Yusuf, who runs a hotel and resort at a famous tourist spot, says that internet clampdown has affected them more vis-a-vis the prevailing situation in the Valley.

He said, “There are people who want to visit us despite the situation in the Valley, but due to internet blockade, we cannot work in a professional manner. I am suffering losses because I have a tie-up with a tour and travel company that only works on internet. If I try to book my hotel or resort offline, I may end up losing my contract and they can sue me.”

The authorities suspended the mobile internet and broadband services in the state after militants attacked a bus carrying Amarnath Yatris in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 10.

The frequent blockade on the internet services in the Valley has caused anger among the business community.

Furqan Qureshi and Amir Bashir Dar, who last year launched a web portal responsible for delivering fresh food to the customers, said that with every internet blockade they have to start from a scratch.

They said, “They lose about 90 percent of the business whenever there is a ban on internet. Although we take some offline orders, but every time I have to start a fresh and it is very frustrating. Our business expands only when we are online.”

According to a report by the Brookings Institute, the Indian economy lost a whopping Rs 6,000 crore because of Internet bans last year in 2016.

Beenish and Omaira, who run an online Crochet shop ‘Craft World Kashmir’, have said that their venture is entirely dependent on the social media and internet. They promote their business on Facebook and Instagram as they don’t have any physical outlet as of now. And the frequent internet clampdown has hit them severely.

Omaira, who handles the social media pages of the startup said, “We run our startup only through Facebook and Instagram. The social media is our shop and our promoter too. The clampdown is affecting us hugely. Fifty per cent of our business is hit when there is no internet.”

Omaira said as a result of the clampdown her payments have been delayed many a times.

Notably, according to a report by InternetShutdowns, a website which tracks the internet clampdown in India, authorities have banned internet almost 38 times since 2012. Their report stated that the longest period for which the internet remained banned in Jammu and Kashmir was about six months.

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