Focusing on development
As the Covid-19 has impacted every sphere of life in Kashmir like rest of the world, the developmental process too has come to a halt here. Kashmir’s economy was already shattered following the lockdown post August 2019, Covid-19 spread added further to the troubles of the masses. First there were restrictions and disturbances post August 2019, then the early snowfall played havoc with Kashmir’s fruit industry. The fruit growers suffered losses of billions of rupees. Though there were some reports suggesting that the UT administration has started some process of compensation, the execution was as usual been bit lethargic. Then the worst power scenario too troubled the people here and constant closure of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the fair weather road that connects the Valley with rest of the country, resulted into shortage of essentials thus resulting into sky rocketing of the prices of essentials. Due to internet closure and uncertain situation, the businesses of all kinds took a hit and sectors affiliated with tourism industry suffered huge losses.
While life had started limping back to normalcy, the spread of Covid-19 proved to be yet another disaster forcing all businesses to shut. Now that the restrictions are being gradually eased, the UT administration need to move beyond promise making and start delivering on the ground. The administration has to understand that eight months of the year are already over and that Kashmir, due to winters, has very little working season. The administration is technically left with three months – September, October and November – during which any developmental works could be done. Come December, the developmental come to a halt in Kashmir and could be resumed only in March. The process of development has remained halted for several months and it needs to be given a push. The roads in all parts of the Valley are in very bad shape and the administration needs to gear up to mend these roads. This is a serious issue because smooth and comfortable surface communication is not only necessary for commuters, medical emergencies and students, it is very vital for the businesses thus for economy. Health sector too needs special attention so does the power sector. On one hand the authorities are keen to invite investors to the Valley, on the other hand if they fail to supply electricity 24×7, how would big businesses be comfortable investing here. The UT administration needs to gear up, prioritize the development and start working efficiently and in a transparent manner. Kashmir needs an economic boost as following August last year almost all sectors have suffered heavily. UT administration, in collaboration with union government, need to devise economic and developmental policies and execute them without wasting any further time.