Capable of generating huge employment, the cooperative societies in south Kashmiri’s Pulwama district have allegedly become a victim of government’s ill-policy.
The cooperative societies were started in 1930’s across the Valley as a mission under private public partnership (PPP).
Villagers at the grass root level pooled their money to start these societies and government after their registration provided them with financial assistance.
With the passage of time these societies became centers for public distribution system.
“Subsidized items like sugar, rice, kerosene, cloth and fertilizers were provided to people through these cooperative societies,” said Kuldeep Kumar Bhat, manager at cooperative supermarket Pulwama, adding that these societies had a monopoly and used to control rate of essential commodities in the market.
“They were profitable, generating revenue for themselves and also for the public in terms of tax,” he said.
He said that these societies provided employment to villagers who through voting would chose the sales man, secretary and chairman. “The elections were not conducted for last three years,” he said.
Huge number of assets in the shape of stores, shops and units were created under the cooperative societies movement.
The cooperative supermarket in Pulwama alone had created 108 shops, three fair price medical shops and a school in different areas of the district.
“The assets worth corers are in dilapidated condition after government stopped funding for their maintenance,” he said.
He said that after privatization of rice, fertilizers, sugar and cloth the monopoly of these societies was broken down.
“The government is now providing only 35 per cent of kerosene supply through cooperative societies,” he said.
He said that if government infuses a new life in the cooperative movement and assist them the way government is assisting poultry units, these societies can generate huge employment.
The deputy register cooperative societies for Pulwama, Ali Jan Qadri said that government has no policy for infusing a new life in these societies. “Our job is to provide registration to them,” he said.
When asked that the assets face decay for want of maintenance he said that government has stopped to provide them financial assistance.