Valley News Desk

2020—The Year That Was: How Covid changed lives in J&K

Pandemic triggered lockdown has choked Kashmir economy, will take years to revive our business: KCCI, KTMF

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Dec 28 (KNO): The deadly pandemic—Covid-19 that was first found in China’s Wuhan which stepped into J&K in March 2020, changed lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir while lockdown enforced by the government hit every sector very badly.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the first case was reported positive on March, 09, 2020 forcing government to announce lockdown, close schools, hotels, restaurant, gym centres and other crowded places.

The virus which was new to the world left people of Jammu and Kashmir very much distressed given to the health facilities in the UT besides that as cases started increasing, there was hue and cry by health workers due to the shortage of safety kits.

Tourism sector and horticulture sector known as the backbone of Kashmir economy suffered losses in crores besides that businessmen, hoteliers, houseboat owners, transporters and even labourers suffered huge losses and there won’t be a single person in J&K who won’t have suffered due to Covid-19 directly or indirectly.

Thousands of people from J&K were stranded in and outside state within country and even outside country while as thousands of non-locals were stranded in J&K due to covid-19 and after one to months of Covid lockdown, government started bringing locals back to J&K by air as well as by road besides that non-locals were also shifted to their native places

As per the data available from March 08 to ending June, 7,497 positive cases were reported in J&K besides that at the same time this deadly pandemic claimed 101 lives.

As cases increasing, authorities closed OPDs at various hospital and some hospitals were specially kept for Covid patients due to which non-Covid patients were suffering a lot.

Data reveals that in July 12,862 cases were reported positive, 17,339 in August, 37,373 in September, 19,715 in October and 15,439 in November while as Covid claims lives of 276 persons in July, 326 in August, 478 in September, 297 in October and 216 in November.

Due to Covid-19 lockdown, students were forced to take online classes and poor students having no Android phones and living in non-network zones suffered a lot besides that thousands of people lost their jobs and there was no work for labourers.

Masks, sanitizers and protective gears were new things to people to use in order to avoid the effect of deadly pandemic.

Mohammad Ismail, a resident of Pulwama, who was tested positive twice for Covid-19 before testing negative said that “people take this pandemic easy as I was taking before testing positive.”

“After testing positive, I become very weak besides issue and it took me around two months to reach to the normal position after testing negative for Covid-19,” he said.

President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Sheikh Ashiq told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that from August last year Kashmir’s economy has suffered a whopping of over Rs 40,000 crores besides that in the same period around one lakh youth lost their jobs.

He said that every segment of the economy suffered huge losses and it will take years to revive our business due to the losses we suffered due to Covid lockdown and without government support it isn’t possible

He said that LG Manoj Sinha announced economic package for reviving the ailing business sector, which gave a bit of relief, however, major things which were mentioned in the package haven’t been implemented yet on ground.

He requested central government and LG lead Government of J&K to look into the matters of tour operators, transporters, house boat owners and Shikra owners as well and come up with a package for such these people as well.

Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) President Muhammad Yaseen Khan told KNO that due to Covid-19 lockdown there was loss of 125 to 150 crore per day in Kashmir which includes losses of every sector.

To revive our business it is not an easy thing because there is financial crunch and till tourists won’t come here like they used to come before August 05 last year, most sectors can’t revive their business, he said, adding that it will depend too on how covid will behave in coming timing as so far there is no vaccine for this deadly virus.

He thanked Lt Governor for providing financial package for revival of business in J&K and he hoped that few things part of the pack which are yet to be implemented will be done soon. Meanwhile, experts believe that this virus is going with us for around one decade—(KNO)

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