Military siege also ruined tourist cab drivers’ business in IIOJK

Srinagar, August 07, 2020 (PPI-OT): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), besides other sectors, the continued military siege imposed by the Modi government since August 05, last year, has also ruined the business of tourist cab drivers. The Modi government on August 5 last year scrapped the special status of IIOJK and put it under military siege.

It has been a year of loss for Parvaiz Ahmad, a resident of Rainwari in Srinagar. A tourist taxi driver by profession, he has been left jobless since August 5 last year. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added to my sufferings and miseries,” says Parvaiz, who has been in his home after being rendered jobless first in wake of lockdown in August last year and then the pandemic.

“I don’t know how long we will survive like this, as this year’s tourist season is also over with another lockdown,” he says, “I have exhausted all my savings. Even my wife and my two daughters have spent their little savings as well to survive the military siege.”

Furkaan Ahmad, another tourist taxi driver from Dalgate, said he has fallen into depression as he is unable to meet the needs of his family. He said his sister was getting married this year but his worsening economic condition has prompted his family to postpone it. “I am the sole bread earner of my family and my earnings depend on the arrival of tourists. Neither tourists arrive nor the authorities are allowing us to ply on roads in the face of COVID-19,” he added.

The Chairman of Kashmir Tourist Taxi Transporters Federation, Abdul Rashid, said the transport sector is the worst hit since August 05, 2019. He said they approached the officials several times in the past few months and sought economic help but to no avail. “Our drivers don’t have enough money to buy even essentials as they have been out of work since August last year,” he added.

According to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the economy has suffered a loss of about Rs 400 billion since August 2019. The KCCI in its earlier report released last year claimed that 496,000 jobs had been lost in 120 days post August 05 move.

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