Srinagar, April 08: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called this press conference to express our disapproval of the implementation of the two day highway closure order of the Government.
The order has been objected to by all stakeholders and there is a collective demand, by one and all, for its revocation. Modifications to the order and establishing of helpline numbers have brought no relief. It is an unmitigated disaster for the common man and our economy.
It is the responsibility of the State to devise a mechanism which does not interfere with the movement of civilian traffic and disrupt normal life. The people of Jammu and Kashmir State are now being asked to delete Wednesday’s and Sunday’s from their day to day lives. Daily routines are important in all societies but assume critical importance in our situation of admitted economic stress.
The order is ill conceived, bereft of logic and suffers from multiple infirmities. It indicates scant regard for the rights of people and relies on the use of force. Both are condemnable.
The Order of the Government states the step is being taken to ensure “Security of the Security Forces” in view of repeated attacks, the prevailing security situation and substantial movement of Security Forces during the ongoing Parliamentary Elections and to safeguard human life. The issuance of the order itself is an acknowledgement about the situation not being conducive for holding of elections.
The KCC&I urges the Election Commission to consider the wisdom of holding elections in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Holding the entire population hostage for conducting of a democratic exercise is in itself a contradiction.
The implementation of the order has caused irreparable losses to our economy especially tourism and horticulture. Business establishments and offices along the National Highway have been forcibly closed as a consequence of the ban. Normal life has been disrupted. The present condition of the National Highway prevents it from catering to the volume of normal traffic. It is frequently closed or only one way traffic allowed. The distance of around 270 kms takes 15 to 20 hours. Reducing two days in a week will add to the existing chaos. The order has created tension and anxiety in the population and there is every possibility of the situation getting out of control. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry once again urges the Hon’ble Governor to reconsider, in public interest, the decision of banning civilian movement.