91-day shutdown breaks IT sector’s backbone in IOK

SRINAGAR: In occupied Kashmir life continues to remain paralyzed on the 91st day of lockdown and communications gag.

Internet and mobile services remain suspended while educational institutions have failed to attract students. Public transport, too, is off the roads. Since the abrogation of Article 370 till the third week of October, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has faced losses to the tune of Rs 100 million.

Besides, the 91-day-long shutdown has broken the backbone of IT industry  in Kashmir. The shutdown has rendered between 22,000 and 25,000 IT professionals in the Valley jobless. IT companies are incurring heavy losses.

Also read: Munir Akram pledges to promote Kashmir’s struggle at UN

Around 32 IT companies, which have their units in the Industrial Estates Rangreth on the outskirts of Srinagar, now bear a deserted look. With the internet blocked in the Valley since August 5, all these units have been shut.

Sheikh Parvez, CEO Srinagar Technology Consultants (STC), said electricity and internet serve as “oxygen” for the IT sector. “Since August 5, the government has denied this oxygen to us. How can IT companies work?” he asked. Parvez, who started his company in 2005 with only two people, before August 5 provided jobs to 200 people. Due to the internet blockade he has been forced to lay-off his staff, he said.

Young entrepreneur Hakim Tajamul, who returned to the Valley from Dubai to set up his venture, said all his hard work has been undone. “We are now back to square one and have to restart afresh,” said Tajamul.

Since 31 October, the valley has witnessed several protests and incidents of violence, especially in Srinagar. On Friday, some incidents of protests and violence were seen in the valley, police said without giving further details.

Also read: India formally splits up occupied Kashmir into two states

Meanwhile, IOK administration has prepared a list of over 450 people including businessmen, journalists, lawyers and political activists, who would not be allowed to travel abroad for a particular time period. Indian troops arrested a youth from area of Baramullah district.

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