Non-locals trickle back, but locals reluctant to rent out spaces

Anantnag: Even as the skilled and unskilled laborers from other states are making their way back to Kashmir, locals here are reluctant to rent out their properties to them following abrogation of Article-370.
Tens of thousands of people from states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been coming to Valley every year, since late nineties. These skilled and unskilled people, over the years, have taken over work at construction sites, salons and even farmland.
However, in August this year, a few days before Government of India revoked Article-370 people from outside the state were asked to leave Kashmir immediately. In the days to come almost all the non-locals, including laborers, left Kashmir valley.
While their absence is creating a scarcity of workforce in Kashmir, but people here are not ready to rent out spaces, commercial or residential, to these people.
Rizwan Ahmad, a barber from UP has been working in Anantnag for more than 20 years now and, according to him, he had never faced any issue vis-à-vis renting space for his shop or for his residence.
“In fact I had my family with me here. My kids went to school here,” Ahmad told Kashmir Reader. A few days back Ahmad arrived back into the valley and now he is unable to find any spaces to rent.
He told Kashmir Reader that even his previous landlord has politely refused to rent his shop or rooms to him again.
“He was apologetic, but he refused,” Ahmad said.
Other people from outside, who have come back to the valley, had similar stories to tell.
“We don’t have to rent shops for we are laborers. Sadly, we are not even getting rooms to live in now,” Bablu Singh, a mason from Bihar told Kashmir Reader.
The locals on the other hand say that they were scared of renting out their spaces.
“While Article-370 was in place we happily rented out our spaces knowing fully well that no one can encroach upon or squat on our properties. But now things have changed and they have changed for worse,” a resident of Tral town in Pulwama district told Kashmir Reader.
He lamented that he had to say no to his long time friend.
“He had been a tenant for last twenty years and he was more of family now. But I will have to think of my family before renting out any space to people from outside,” he said.
Other locals, Kashmir Reader talked to, had similar apprehensions. “What if they refuse to leave the place tomorrow? The government is theirs and 370 is history, what can we do?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.