Now, KEA cries discrimination against Valley-based businesses

SRINAGAR: Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), an amalgam of various traders bodies in the Valley, Wednesday alleged that the state government has adopted a discriminatory policy for the Valley based traders in regard to other two regions—Jammu and Ladakh—of the state.
“We are facing great deal of discrimination from the state government. We can see different yard sticks for the different regions of the same state. We are being subjected to different decisions in the Valley while Jammu is not facing any such thing. Isn’t it aggression on Kashmir economy?” chairman, KEA, Mohammad Yaseen Khan told reporters here.
Khan said the discriminatory approach adopted by the government and its functionaries is causing immense mental distress and financial losses to the people of Kashmir.
He said KEA affirms its stand to protect and agitate the issues of interest of the people of Kashmir including business community, under all circumstances.
Commenting on the power scenario in the Valley the “unkind and callous attitude” of the state authorities has resulted in blackouts and crisis of extreme nature during the harsh winter. Power curtailment schedule released by the PDD at the close of “Darbar” from Kashmir has been a crude joke now, he said.
Regarding the sealing of hotels and guest houses KEA said that some self styled individual environmentalists, some in the disguise of NGOs, file PILS at the behest of vested interests to ensure the Valley trade, commerce and tourism suffer so bad that their eventual revival is impossible. “While considerations and requirements of STPs for hotels are similar everywhere, somehow, Kashmir has been singled out for such requirements by these PIL litigants, whereas other regions of the same state have been left untouched by these NGOs and the authorities at the helm of the government.
KEA also said that the recent sealing of 250 hotels and guesthouses by State Pollution Control Board has sent wrong signals as it has dented the very purpose of the promotional activities undertaken by the government and trade bodies.
KEA had hailed the decision of the High Court directing the state government to formulate a policy in regard to the illegal/unauthorized structures in and around Srinagar.
Khan also said that the fate of funds to the tune of about Rs 2,200 cores is hanging as the same is yet to be released and is expected to be released during the end of this month which is possibly not going to help Kashmir to derive any benefit because of weather conditions as such there are genuine apprehension that the funds may not be used in Kashmir but diverted to Jammu.
Regarding CET-BOPEE scam, KEA said, the present expose is just a tip of the iceberg.
“Many more wrongs need to be brought to day light. Candidates, who have been admitted by virtue of their influence- political and bureaucratic, have not so far been named. This needs to be done fast. If the crime department feels that no such offences have taken place then it should also make that public, more appropriately stating this in the court, both for the valley as well as for Jammu region,” they said.
They said Kashmir’s economic failure can be significantly attributed to the lack of connectivity with the outside world and even with its own brethren, where scope of trade and commerce are higher. “Our total dependence on Srinagar-Jammu road has been disastrous to our survival particularly in Monsoon and winter seasons. Government lays stress on development of road connectivity purely on needs of the Defense—many of these developmental works have been damaging to our environment and ecology,” KEA spokesman, Siraj Ahmad said.
He said KEA has all along been strongly voicing its concern regarding the supply of spurious or sub-standard drugs to the Valley particularly in hospitals. “It is the most heinous crime in nature concerning the life of the people. It has come to the fore that these drugs have caused deaths of the patients in hospitals particularly infants at GB. Panth hospital,” he said.