[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, May 2: About 200 traders from Jammu & Kashmir stranded in various districts of Arunachal since the nationwide lockdown was put into force from 24 March midnight are requesting the governments of Arunachal and J&K to arrange for their safe return.
Mohd Sediq, a trader from Kupawara district of Kashmir, informed that he has been in the state since November 2019. He said that he and a few others had airline and train tickets for the end of March to go back, but they could not move out due to the lockdown.
“There were about 400 people spread across the state, who had come here for business. Several of them left in February, but over an estimated 120-130 of us from Kupwara, including some with their wives and children, are stranded here,” he said.
Sediq informed that he received a call from one person on Friday, who is originally from Ramban district of Jammu, and was informed that there are about 72 people in Gohpur-Hollongi, who were working on some tower but are now stranded there.
Apart from the capital area, several Kashmiri traders are stranded in Bomdila, Bhalukpong, Seppa, Tawang, Pasighat, Miao, Roing, Namsai, Khonsa, Anini, Tuting, and a few other places, Sediq informed.
After the media here reported about the stranded traders to higher officials, Sediq, who currently resides at a rented accommodation near Arunodaya School in Itanagar, informed that they have been assured by the Jammu & Kashmir government that arrangements would be made for their safe return in a few days.
“The officials there reached out to us and asked us to fill out an online form. They assured that they would arrange for travel from Guwahati to Jammu & Kashmir, but the government in Arunachal would have to arrange for our departure to Guwahati, for which we will have to wait for a few more days,” Sediq said.
“We have informed as many people as we could to fill out the online forms that came from the Jammu & Kashmir government and asked them to be patient and wait for a few more days,” he said.
Sediq, who has been doing business in the state for nearly 20 years, said that they are being provided rations by the administration, and that there has been no trouble in going out to get essential items.
However, their main concern now is the shortage of funds and going back to their homes before the summer season arrives here.
“We are traders, but we have fund constrains now as we cannot go out to collect the money from people who had bought our wares on credit. We have to send money to our homes as well. We are also not used to the hot weather conditions here. If we stay here, the weather will kill us before coronavirus does. We have never stayed longer than March here,” Sediq said.
Requesting the state government to arrange for their return, Sediq said, “We don’t need anything. We simply want to return to our homes.”
[ Nellie N Manpoong ]