The economy of Jammu and Kashmir has been in tatters since August following the government's move to end the state's special status and bifurcate it into two union territories, businessmen in the state say. Its top trade body, the Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, said since August 5, the state has sustained a loss of business worth around Rs 10,000 crore.
On the eve of the announcement of its sweeping move, the Centre had directed all tourists to leave Jammu and Kashmir. But the tourists have not been back since, even though most of the restrictions have been eased. Normalcy is also yet to be restored, the locals say.
Sources said over one lakh rooms across the state's hotels and guest houses have been going empty. In the absence of tourists, there have been thousands of job losses. The non-restoration of internet facilities also resulted in job cuts in IT firms as no work has been outsourced to the state.
Sheikh Ashique, president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industries, said it is difficult to assess the nature of losses arrive at an exact figure as the situation in the Kashmir Valley is not normal yet.
"The running business losses for Kashmir have crossed Rs. 10,000 crore and all sectors have been severely hit," he said. "There is not a single sector which has not been affected, be it tourism, be it handicraft, be it the IT".
One of the key problems is the absence of internet facilities, he said.
"In today's times, the basic need of any business is access to internet. We have conveyed it to the administration that the businesses will suffer in Kashmir and the economy will weaken. This will have huge consequences in the long run," he said.
Schools too, are yet to function properly. Over 14 lakh children are skipping school, though the teachers are in attendance.
On Tuesday, a group of 27 lawmakers from the European Union are visiting Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions are in place since the centre's decision to end special status to the state under Article 370 and split it into two union territories.
Ahead of their visit, the group met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said their visit "should give them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region".