SRINAGAR: The imposition of curbs and communication blockade after scrapping of Article 370 has dealt a severe blow to the hospitality and carpet-manufacturing sectors in the Kashmir Valley, with 80 to 90 per cent staff in hotels and 50,000 people engaged with carpet-trade left jobless.
All the hotels and guest houses in the Valley and houseboats in Srinagar are empty since August 5, when Article 370 was scrapped in J&K.
“Our hotel was having 70-80 per cent occupancy till August 2, when the J&K government issued a security advisory directing tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave the Valley in view of terror threats,” said a hotelier of Gulmarg in north Kashmir.
Gulmarg wears a deserted look with all its 62 hotels empty and shops closed. Ghulam Ahmad, a hotel staff, said hotel owners have laid off most of the staff.
“Only, a few staff members have been retained and they are guarding and protecting the hotels.”
All the hotels in Srinagar and in Pahalgam, with a combined capacity of over 50,000 beds, and about 1,300 houseboats in Srinagar are sitting idle.
“There has been no query from any visitor since August 5,” a hotelier said.
Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq said business has taken backstage as the main thrust of the people is on day-to-day affairs.
“They are purchasing essential commodities and food items. The business has suffered heavy losses.”
According to Ashiq, hoteliers have laid off 80-90 per cent staff. He said even the carpet industry has suffered heavy losses.
“This was the time when exporters used to place orders for silk carpets. They used to receive orders for Christmas and New Year. However, traders are now unable to reach their customers outside the Valley.”
Ashiq said 50,000 people engaged in carpet trade are without jobs. “It will take years to undo this damage.”