Lockdown Blues Editorial Board By Syed Nayeem

Lockdown Blues Editorial Board By Syed Nayeem

Lockdown Blues Editorial Board By Syed Nayeem

If anything, the spiking Coronavirus cases in Kashmir shows that we may still need some time away from flattening the curve. The total number of reported cases of coronavirus in J&K have already crossed 550 out of which 164 have recovered and 7 have passed away. Bandipora remains the most affected district followed by Srinagar. Meanwhile, the lockdown continues. In fact, the lockdown over coronavirus scare has come as a double whammy for Kashmir Valley. Following immediately after the six-month-long siege in the wake of the revocation of Article 370 in August last, the lockdown has inflicted a crushing blow to the state turned union territory’s economy as also the education that can never be compensated. Even somehow, the pieces of the shattered economy will be fixed again but education without 4G speed has become nominal, which is least cared for by our administration.

According to an estimate by Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Valley’s economy has suffered a loss of more than Rs: 18000 crore during post Article 370 lockdown. Tourism, one of the mainstays of the local economy has come to a halt. This has hit the hotel industry and travel operators hard. The handicrafts sector has been crushed. The fledgeling IT industry and the start-ups were wiped out. Horticulture, an Rs: 6500 crores industry, that employs around three million people, had fewer workers to take care of the harvest. Even a significant portion of fruit has got rotted on trees.

Lockdown Blues Editorial Board By Syed Nayeem

Similarly, education was the worst affected and still is, the children couldn’t go to school for seven months, but within a fortnight of their return to schools from February 26, the lockdown over coronavirus scare has once again shut the schools down. They can’t even study online as the government has refused to restore high-speed mobile internet.

This has created a situation of depression. Moreover, with uncertainty deepening over the world’s and especially India’s ability to control the pandemic in the near future. Kashmir economy is in desperate need for government support. It needs help over and above what has been given to the country’s economy in the recent stimulus. Similarly, people desperately want a high-speed internet to enable children to study at home and attend online classes. So, it is time that the government rethinks its prolonged internet ban and lift the chokehold on life in Kashmir.

Kashmir is now looking forward to a post-Coronavirus period and hopes it remains peaceful. The region has already been through a long period of disruption. But people, meanwhile, are cooperating with the government in observing new lockdown. Despite the setback to the economy, the lockdown doesn’t feel as painful as it does in other parts of the country. Kashmir has been through many long–period lockdown. This is familiar territory for the people in the region. So, people will be able to deal with it better than other parts of the country.

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