SRINAGAR: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) on Friday said they have joined hands to highlight the common issues of trade and industry of the state and asked for interventions by the state and union governments.
Addressing a joint press-conference, KCCI president Javed Ahmad Tenga and JCCI president Rakesh Gupta said they have decided to restrain themselves from raising issues with “tendency to vitiate the environment with respect to the sentiments and views of the people of both the regions”.
Seeking urgent and decisive intervention, the two said that they would like government to address some principal areas related to tourism, master plan, developmental projects, public sector undertakings, ease of doing business, and waiver on credit/debit card charges.
“The chambers would like to advice government to have a systematic and professionally managed campaign to promote leisure, adventure, religious and border tourism as we feel that the real potential of this sector is untapped,” Tenga said.
He said that the tourism sector was declared as an industry in 1995 but was being denied incentives as per the industrial policy by the Power Development Department.
Expressing concern and displeasure over the way the current masterplans were being designed Tenga said, “Ignoring the ground realities and not taking into considerations the urgent requirement change to be made regarding land use, provisions for new commercial spaces, parking and other utilities… The building laws, floor area ratios, setbacks, zoning plans and permissible building heights are the areas where both the chambers have serious reservations.”
He urged the state government to extend feedback deadline for Srinagar Masterplan till 31st March next year.
JCCI president Gupta urged state government to fix and follow deadlines for the completion of projects undertaken throughout the state. “The delay in the completion translates into cost escalations and ultimately these projects turns into nightmares for all the stake holders,” Gupta said.
Gupta also said that the Chambers feel stunned and anguished over the recent statement made by Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Singh who described the artificial lake project on Tawi river as a big scam and non-viable as a project.
“The Chambers question the Deputy Chief Minister that is the in-charge ministry, also a part to this scam, as there has been neither any enquiry nor any suspension of any official in connection with the alleged scam,” he said. “The Chambers advice government to revisit the artificial lake project in consultation with any of the IIT’s,” he added.
A joint statement issued by the Chambers said that they are concerned at the, “loss to economy being caused by the lack of accountability in the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU)”. “A conservative estimate shows the current liabilities of these of these PSU’s to be upwards of 10000 crore rupees,” the statement said.
The statement also said that preference to local industry in line with the Industrial Policy of 2016 passed by the state cabinet is not being implemented with regard to the purchase and price preference by the Power Development Department to the local industrial units “resulting in bringing to these units to the verge of closure.”
JKCCI also urged state government to put single window system in place for all the sectors especially in the industrial sector. It also urged J&K government to take the issue of waiver of changes on debit/credit card with the Reserve Bank of India.
“There should be no charges on card swipes because we don’t have that much of profit margin. If the issue of charges is not removed we will be forced to not to accept cards for the payments,” Gupta said.