‘PM’s Kashmir visit costs Rs 600 crore’

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Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s two day visit to the Valley from today would result in the loss of over Rs 600 crores to the state’s economy.

Ahead of Prime Minister’s (PM) visit, security has been tightened across the Valley. Police and CRPF personnel are randomly checking identity cards and carrying out random search of vehicles. Government has already announced that tourist hub Boulevard will be completely sealed during PM’s stay here.

However, the business communities complain that it has created panic among the tourists and common people, owing to which they incur heavy losses by putting Valley on high alert.

The tourism fraternity said lots of tourist bookings were also cancelled, leaving the people associated with this sector high and dry.

“Business community would incur expected financial losses of over  RS 600 crores during PM’s visit to the Valley. We have over Rs 200 crore trade daily here and our business would remain shut for three days and has been affecting our business for the past over a week,” Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Mohammad Yasin Khan said.

He claims that traders’ fraternity has suffered a lot due to “harassment” by the government.

He said that nowhere in India, the roads are sealed and creating harassment of common masses on PM’s visit.

He believes his visit would give no benefit to the state instead it would create inconveniences to the common people.

Source: Kashmir Dispatch

“India only wants to show the world that their leaders are coming to the Valley to address the issues which is just mere eyewash. It is only the election stunt and they are preparing ground for the elections,” he asserted.

However, he made it clear that they were not against his visit but the economy should not suffer at the cost of his visit.

“We have been witnessing considerable decrease in business during these peak times,” he added.

Joining the chorus, Chairman, House Boat Owners Association (HBOA) Mohammad Azim Tuman says that every sector in the Valley is incurring losses due to PM’s visit.

“There was no logic that there was any threat to yatris and security was tightened on his visit. Several areas including Boulevard would be sealed for two-days, would bring immense inconveniences to the common people. The traders’ community would witness losses  worth crores of rupees by his visit. During these days, tourists would be confined inside their hotels and houseboats,” Tuman said.

President, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Faiz Bakshi said the restrictions on PM’s visit put the tourists and common people in inconvenience.

“It disturbs the economy of Kashmir, resulting in huge losses to the business community,” he added.

Lateef Ahmad, who runs a travel agency, said many tourist groups have cancelled their trip to the Valley in the back drop of government’s announcement that Amarnath yatra is on militant radar this year.

“But the PM’s visit has turned the situation from bad to worse and tourists feel insecure here due to intensification of security across the Valley,” Ahmad said.

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