Economic growth impossible without Kashmir solution: KEA

Nazir Ganaie

Agence India Press

December 02, 2010

Srinagar: Supporting the hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Calendar politics, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), a newly formed amalgam of several trade organizations, on Thursday said the economic growth in the state was impossible without finding a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.

“Strikes were not war against the establishment, but were a form of resentment. We can sustain and survive but we cannot grow in such circumstances. Economic growth is impossible without a solution to the Kashmir issue,” a member of KEA and President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, Siraj Ahmad told reporters here.

According to Agence India Press correspondent, Ahmad said Kashmir had a huge potential of resources, enough to make it self-reliant and help its economy grow.

“We have such huge potential and resources that we can be self reliant and even we can export but what is missing is the political will to do so,” he said.

KEA, which announced its formation today, comprises of several organizations of hotel and restaurant owners, traders and manufacturers, drivers, food processors and electronics and mobile distributors.

“Peace and tranquility, being the essentials for the healthy growth if economy, can only be achieved if the core issue of Kashmir is adequately addressed to evolve a permanent and peaceful settlement of Kashmir,” KEA in an official statement issued to the press said.

Alliance blamed government for not doing enough to help the growth of economy.

“Government is practically doing nothing; they are only visible on newspapers. Government has to change its strategy and come up clear with what it wants to do for the economy,” he said.

The Allaince also supported the shutdown policy of hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and said the strikes were not war against the establishment, but were a form of resentment.

“Strike can be one of the option. Strikes are the only means to show your

resentment, so it is not a war on the establishment but just a way to express resentment,” a member of KEA  and owner Hotel Akbar Residency, Iqbal Tramboo  said, when asked by reporters about what they thought about Geelani shutdown calendars.

A KEA member, Dr Zainul Abideen, said there was a need to become self-reliant and have a proper use of the resources available in the state.

Mir Habibullah of Hotelier’s Association said that more than four lakh people associated with the tourism industry faced the danger of losing their jobs.

“Today the tourism industry on the verge of collapse and more than four lakh people associated with the industry face the danger of losing the job. If government does not concentrate on reviving the economy, then we all should start looking for other jobs,” he said. (AIP)

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