SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday held a press conference here to criticise the twice-a-week closure of the national highway for civilian vehicles. The KCCI said there is a collective demand for revocation of the government order and the Governor should reconsider it in the public interest.
President of KCCI Sheikh Ashiq said that modifications made to the order and establishing helpline numbers had brought no relief. “It is an unmitigated disaster for the common man and our economy,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the state to devise a mechanism which does not interfere with the movement of civilian traffic and disrupts normal life. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are now being asked to delete Wednesdays and Sundays from their day-to-day lives. Daily routines are important in all societies but assume critical importance in our situation of economic stress,” Ashiq said.
“The implementation of the order has caused various losses to our economy, especially tourism and horticulture. Business establishments and offices along the national highway have been closed as a consequence of the ban. Normal life has been disrupted,” he said.
“The present condition of the highway is such that it cannot even cater to the volume of normal traffic. It is frequently closed or only one-way traffic is allowed. The distance of around 270 kms takes 15 to 20 hours to traverse. Reducing two days in a week will add to the existing chaos. The order has created tension and anxiety in the population,” he said.
The KCCI urged the Honourable Governor to reconsider the decision of banning civilian movement on the highway.
Other members of the KCCI said the order was ill conceived, bereft of logic, and suffered from multiple infirmities.
The KCCI also urged the Election Commission to reconsider holding general elections in J&K in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. “Holding the entire population hostage for conducting of a democratic exercise is in itself a contradiction,” the chamber said.