Centre's acceptance of not assessing J&K's economic losses since revoking Article 370 appalling: NC

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Srinagar, Feb 3 (PTI) The National Conference (NC) on Wednesday said the Centre's “appalling acceptance” of not assessing the losses incurred by Jammu and Kashmir's tourism sector post the abrogation of Article 370 is an indictment of its “nonchalant approach” towards the “miseries” of the people living in the union territory.

In a reply to a question, the Union Tourism Ministry informed Parliament that it has not conducted any formal study to assess the job losses of artisans, weavers, tour operators, houseboat owners, transporters etc. after August 5.

The Union government had on August 5, 2019 announced the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said the government's acceptance about its unawareness of the losses incurred by local handicraft, tourism and industries sectors is “reflective of its indifference' towards the woes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Despite huge losses suffered by local weavers, artisans and other small players in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5 (2019), why didn't the government initiate any measure to gauge the impact?” Sagar said, referring to the revocation of J&K's special status.

The NC leader said the party also has been flagging the issues continuously on all forums, but its repeated pleas were met with cold shoulders.

“On the contrary, photo-ops were sold to us in the shape of development. The recent budget is a continuation of the same unrelated attitude of the GOI (government of India) towards Kashmir,' he said.

“It was expected that the government would come up with a fiscal stimulus for small players in handicraft, tourism and MSME sectors. The disinclination of the government towards rejuvenating Kashmir economy, if persists, would result in a total freeze of all employment generation, consequently bringing it to a catastrophic end,” he said.

Calling for a preemptive action plan to embark Jammu and Kashmir on the path of development, Sagar said the primary precursor to it was political stability and an enduring lasting policy framework.

“There can be no development unless and until the inevitable right of the people to have a democratic government in place. Having people's infringed constitutionally guaranteed rights restored would also diminish the widespread trust deficit between New Delhi and Srinagar,” he said.

He said deliberations with all stakeholders' including transporters, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, manufacturing and handicraft sectors will also increase the vision of the government to deal with the exigencies which have propped up after August 5, 2019.

In the meantime, the NC general secretary said, a comprehensive package for infrastructure augmentation in roads, utility, health and education sector is much needed to reinvigorate growth and development in Kashmir, which has been paused since 2015. PTI SSB RHL