Hundreds of Shikara Wallas on the banks of Dal Lake are without any business as there are no locals and tourists visible for the Shikara ride on the waters of the lake.
Each Shikara Walla has limited life dreams along with their families. They want only survival and the schooling of their kids as they have been getting all financial support to withstand such rides of tourists and locals on the waters of Dal Lake.
While the administration has been discussing their financial condition in the past 13 months and held several high level meetings to provide them some financial support so that they can come out of the growing debt trap of the conditions around them.
Recently Srinagar administration has released Rs 1000/M to some Shikara Wallas as a financial help but most of them have told this reporter they did not get even this small sum as it matters in their lives. They alleged that many of them have been ignored in the list prepared by the administration and demanded that the government should provide all of them a financial package without any pick and choose.
Talk to this reporter, one Shikara Walla Ghulam Muhammad who is roving his Shikara at Ghat No. 3 of Dal Lake said that though his documents were submitted he dd not get any financial package. They said that out of 25 shikara Wallas who are the members of shikara association at Ghat No. 3 only 4 have got the amount.
President of Ghat No.3 Abdul Gaffar while talking to this reporter said that all the shikara wallas were reeling under debt, he said that even the amount of Rs 1000/M they were not getting. He appealed Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to intervene as he claimed that they have submitted all the documents required for this Rs 1000/M compensation.
Similarly the transporters connected with tourist trade are without any business and are waiting for the government compensation. President of Tengbagh Boulevard Road Taxi Stand which has 198 registered members, has no source of income. President of this stand Nazir Ahmad said that while on one hand they have no source of income with the result they have not been able to submit different taxes of transport to the government. He lamented that even knowing their condition their vehicles were being fined by traffic police and most of them were not even bringing out their vehicles on the roads.
Nazir said that most of them have huge loans of banks and financial institutions and they get daily telephone calls of coercion and harassment from banks to repay the loans. He has appealed to the government to intervene and save them not only from the harassment of the traffic police and banks but also provide them some financial package so that they can repay the loans.
Both Shikara Wallas and the transporters connected with tourism have one problem in common, that is submission of fee to the schools. Similarly hundreds of shopkeepers connected with handicrafts business especially in Boulevard Road have no option but to bring out their wards from the schools as they have no fee to pay.
Their problems are only compounding and they want at least instructions to all the schools not to harass them to pay the fee as they have no money even to meet the daily expenses of their kitchen.