Mehraj Din Bakal (55) sells chips and biscuits on roadside in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar down town to make ends meet. Prior to abrogation of Article 370, he ran printing press by the name of ‘Milan Offset Printing Press’. Bakal now claims that his small unit has no work at all.
“After August 5, the day Article 370 was scrapped from J&K , there was complete shutdown in the Valley, hence my small scale unit was left with no work. Unit is shut down as of now and I have no choice but to sell confectionery items on roadside…I have to feed my family. I don’t know whether abrogation was good or bad, but my life has been thrown out of gear.”
Paradise Printing Press, run by Naseer Ahmed (42), too has been out of work. “I am not able to think about what to do due to no work since August. I survived on some savings and even sold gold of my wife. As markets have started opening up. I am hoping some business will come which will put our lives on track yet again,” he said.
Faraz Ahmed (48) and Imtiaz Ahmed (40) both worked as binders at book binding units, but now are jobless as the units have no work.
But now there is a ray of hope for jobless workers or the small printers registered with the Kashmir Printers Association (KPA). The Ludhiana chapter of the Offset Printers Association (OPA) has decided to extend help. After representatives of All India Federation of Masters Printers (AIFMP) and OPA recently visited Srinagar and met their KPA counterparts, the Ludhiana OPA has decided to help some of those hit by the shutdown financially.
Prof Kamal Mohan Chopra, ex-president of AIFMP and current general secretary of OPA’s Ludhiana unit said, “Though our Kashmir counterparts have not asked for any financial help, but we think that we must help them out in this difficult time. So we have asked them to make a list of affected workers/small printers whom we will be helping financially. We will be visiting Srinagar for this purpose again….Once we will get that list, we will ourselves come to Srinagar to distribute funds to them.”
KPA president Shabeer Ahmed said: “We have over 1000 units registered with us and most of them have no work these days. A few big units are getting some work…but are facing hurdles due to no internet services in Valley since August 5. A few of them are going to as far as Delhi to get their work done because of lack of internet. We are making a list of affected workers which we will send to OPA’s Ludhiana unit. It is a kind gesture on the part of our Punjabi brothers.”
Sheikh Irshaad, KPA vice president, said: “My unit in industrial estate is lying closed while the one in down town is surviving on little work. I had plans to start industrial estate unit but before that Article 370 episode happened and
hence the project has been delayed by over four months now.”
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