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‘Rehabilitation of traders humanitarian issue’
KTMF calls for strike on March 4
SRINAGAR, Feb 28: Terming the much-needed rehabilitation of flood-affected traders of Kashmir a “humanitarian issue”, the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) president Mohammad Yasin Khan today asked the central government and the world bodies into relief and rehabilitation to take a serious look at the grave situation of Valley’s trade community. The KTMF has called for a strike call on March 4 to resent the delay in rehabilitation.

Khan while addressing a press conference said revival of business activities was impossible in the absence of external assistance as traders have suffered colossal damages in the September 2014 deluge and are struggling for revival since. “KTMF calls for strike on March 4 and appeals the trader fraternity to assemble at Lal Chowk on the day for protests over delay in rehabilitation,” Khan said.

He said, “Compensation of the losses and rehabilitation of the trader should be the first priority.” Besides he sought exemption on tax and soft loans. “Ten years interest free advancing as business capital be arranged for the traders,” Khan added.

“Twenty years interest free advancing towards construction of commercial building. All taxes, including VAT and Income Tax should be suspended till the traders get rehabilitated,” he maintained.

He said the KTMF was “pained and concerned about the fake and farce announcements made by the government regarding rehabilitation packages to my fellow traders who were economically reduced to zero in terms of capital and assets by devastating floods in September, 2014.”

“The prime minister’s relief offer to the neighbouring country was seen as a good gesture, but what about those who live here,” he said.

He said the devastation in Kashmir should not be equated with calamities at places like Uttarakhand, which suffered equally major tragedy. “No doubts the loss of precious lives due to flash floods in that remote hilly terrain was many times more but the infrastructural damage in Kashmir has been colossal, and almost beyond human competence to accurately calculate,” Khan said adding Srinagar happens to be the only City devastated by floods in the recent past. “Even the commercial hub of Lal Chowk could not be saved from floods,” he added.

“The infrastructure of the entire Kashmir Valley has become almost non-existent. Floods have destroyed everything; roads, power, hospitals, schools, bridges, commercial and domestic buildings etc. Nothing is left to carry out day-to-day activities, be it economic or social,” Khan continued.

Giving details of losses suffered by traders, he said, “The losses suffered by business community in twenty districts is estimated to the tune of Rs 30,000 crores affecting over 65,000 business establishments, out of which 14,000 establishment stand wiped out.”

“The traders’ community was expecting full support from the government as it a known fact. Traders are the greatest contributors to the ex-chequer in shape of tax payments. Instead of taking cognizance of the tragedy befallen, the government has ignored the traders’ community which is nothing less than a criminal act and moral defeat,” he said.

News Updated at : Sunday, March 1, 2015
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