Srinagar: The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are making a last-ditch effort to pacify the trader community of Jammu to call off their one-day shutdown against the government’s policies and actions which the latter say are like a choke-hold on their business.
“We have been caught up in real trouble. The trade deficit in Jammu is hitting record highs because of the misplaced policies and actions of the government. The pandemic had already caused massive losses to us. Now the government has allowed about a hundred Reliance outlets to open across Jammu. This will further ruin our businesses,” said a spokesperson of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).
The JCCI’s call for shutdown on Wednesday has been endorsed by several local trade bodies and pressure groups. Various political parties other than the BJP are also extending support. The latest to throw its weight behind the JCCI is the National Conference (NC).
A spokesperson of J&K’s main Opposition party said on Monday, “We extend our whole-hearted support to the shutdown call. We, however, hope the administration will see reason in its anti-business and anti-poor policies and take corrective measures, rather than coming up with move after move that hurts the overall interests of the people of J&K”.
The JCCI while calling for the shutdown had expressed anguish over the “discrimination of the highest degree with traders of Jammu by the government”. JCCI president Arun Gupta said, “Looking into the atrocities of the government on the business class of Jammu, we have decided to give a clarion call for Jammu Bandh on September 22.” He expressed resentment over the proposal of big companies such as Reliance opening stores in Jammu, saying that if this happens, small businesses will be affected, and many shops will shut down.
Mr Gupta asserted, “Instead of adding opportunities for business, the directionless government has snatched what was in hand of traders which is unacceptable. These policies are hitting the business fraternity hard”.
He alleged that the government was planning to target bar owners next. He said, “Hundreds of wine traders have lost their livelihood after the introduction of e-auction of liquor vends in J&K. As many as 228 liquor traders lost their shops in the e-auction conducted recently. More traders are likely to go in the red because of the anti-Jammu policies and actions of the government”.
The J&K government has not, so far, reacted to these allegations but reliable sources said that efforts are underway to soothe the escalating anger of Jammu’s trading community....