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Jammu & Kashmir

Exodus of workers hits industries in the Valley

August 23, 2019 04:50 AM


Exodus of workers hits industries in the Valley
Businesses related to horticulture, tourism and construction struggling to find skilled, unskilled labourers, say local traders


In the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 that sanctioned special status to Jammu and Kashmir, due to pervasive fear and government’s advisory on tourists to leave the Valley, the exodus of hundreds of skilled and unskilled migrant labourers has created a massive crisis for local industries such as horticulture, tourism and construction. The impact of the situation is growing by the day, leaving everyone worried what will happen next.

Locals are struggling to get even menial jobs such as haircut and sewing clothes done. Most workers in the Valley are from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar, some of whom have been working in the region for the past couple of decades.

From last many years, the non-local workers have helped to fulfill Kashmir’s labour demands. Lakhs of migrants work in agriculture, horticulture, brick kilns, and construction. Thousands of non-local workers are employed as domestic workers while others hawk goods on the streets of towns in the Valley. The non-local labours have also left the city due to the growing uncertainty of the situation.

Speaking to Mirror, Imran Razak, a resident of Batmaloo in Srinagar, said, “It is for the first time that non-local workers, who had stayed here during the past crises, have left the city.”

Razak also said, “Most barbers in the Valley were outsiders. With many of them leaving, it is very difficult to find barber shop to get a haircut done.”

Same is the situation with other traders. The shutdown has led to a shortage of construction workers and supplies as a result of which contractors are unable to continue work.

“Everything had come to a standstill after workers left the Valley,” said Danish Sultan, a construction contractor. Even people associated to the horticulture industry are feeling the heat, as the apple season is on.

“No one is here to tend to the apple orchards,” said Mod Altaf, a farmer in Zadoora in Pulwama

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