Srinagar: In an open letter to the president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has extended its support to the Jammu chamber’s demand for removal of “non-performer” BJP minsters, but has urged the chamber to reconsider its shutdown call on Monday. The Kashmir chamber also opposed the demand for a state holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh.
Regarding the Jammu chamber’s demand for deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu, the KCCI suggested to the Jammu chamber to focus on the humanitarian aspect of the problem, rather than its constitutional aspects.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, the KCCI said that the “unaccountable and insincere” work of the majority of the BJP ministers and the demand for their removal is endorsed by the Kashmir Chamber. “There is no difference of opinion on the exit of non-performers,” the KCCI said.
“The KCCI supports the concerns of the Jammu Chamber regarding the formulation of the Jammu Master Plan and would reiterate its demand that the respective chambers of the state be given due representation on the Board of Development Authorities,” said the statement.
The Kashmir Chamber also demanded the abolition of the Toll Tax being charged by the J&K government on the pretext of safeguarding industry. It also reiterated the demand for rollback of the Goods & Services Tax (GST).
“Any law seen as an infringement of guaranteed rights will be opposed with all the strength at our command,” the KCCI said.
Referring to the dissatisfaction of the Jammu chamber at the slow pace of acquiring land for AIIMS at Vijaypur, the KCCI questioned the rationale for having two AIIMS in J&K. “The AIIMS was originally announced for Kashmir, but after the agitation launched by our Jammu brethren over this, an unprecedented creation of two AIIMS was subsequently announced. Reportedly, they would now be somewhat smaller variants rather than a full-fledged AIIMS, commonly referred to as mini-AIIMS,” said the statement.
Seeking extension of the last date for filing objections to the Srinagar Master Plan, the KCCI said that views of various stakeholders be discussed before finalisation of the master plan. “The needs and requirements of the business community cannot be ignored as it results in the introduction of faulty plans and seriously impedes the growth of the state’s economy,” the statement said.
The KCCI questioned the wastage of Rs 76 crores on the Artificial Lake Project in Jammu. “It appears that big and prestigious projects are launched on political whims without going into the viability and practical aspects. With one of the highest Transmission & Distribution Losses in the world, our State needs a serious relook at the system. Even though T&D losses have been marginally reduced, still the percentage remains quite alarming. The absence of any Tendering and Procurement Policy has caused losses in lakhs of crores over the years,” the KCCI said.
The Kashmir chamber, however, opposed the demand for a State Holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh. “With due respects to your feelings about Maharaja Hari Singh and his contribution, the Kashmir Chamber opposes the demand for a State Holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh. The Kashmir Chamber feels that the State has already notified 24 days as holidays and there is a need for reviewing and reducing the existing list of holidays. Keeping in view the Durbar Move and other holidays, we are left with very few working days,” it said.
On the Jammu chamber’s demand for deportation of Rohingyas, the KCCI said, “State of Jammu and Kashmir should intervene in providing relief and shelter to the Rohingya refugees. At this point we would like to add that humanitarianism is one of the fundamental principles of all religions,” the KCCI said.
It also urged the Jammu chamber to reconsider its call for a shutdown. “We believe that as apex trade bodies, we should seek to promote the resolution of problems through dialogue and not be seen as promoters of business interruptions,” the KCCI said.