‘Collusion between some businessmen and govt will be exposed’
SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) on Friday expressed disappointment over administration’s continued “apathy” towards young entrepreneurs of state and said the government’s “arrogance and shameless patronage to crony capitalism” was pushing thousands of young entrepreneurs to the wall.
NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu in a statement said a delegation of young entrepreneurs called on him on Friday and said, “There was a pervasive atmosphere of crony-capitalism engulfing the state’s economy as public institutions had practically become economic wings of the PDP.”
“A young entrepreneur takes on unimaginable risks in a strife-torn state like J&K to add economic value and jobs in the system. First generation entrepreneurs who don’t come from established business platforms and backgrounds are the engines of growth and deserve encouragement and facilitation from the system,” the delegation told spokesperson. He said rather than encouraging them, these young entrepreneurs are being persecuted and humiliated in government departments and institutions where a “select list of crony capitalists close to the powers that be”, are calling the shots. “There is open collusion between certain businessmen and the ruling dispensation and the chief minister is personally encouraging this collusion,” the spokesperson said in a statement after meeting the delegation of young entrepreneurs.
Mattu said there were “brazen instances of collusion” between some business houses, contractors and ministers and leaders of the ruling dispensation and “it was this system of collusion and crony-capitalism” that was suffocating the local economy by cutting off credit to the unaffiliated, hardworking entrepreneur and depriving him of a fair and equal playing field. “When it comes to an entrepreneur without any affiliation to the powers that be, he has to spend years in the vicious circle of the red-tape that has become a norm in our public institutions. On the contrary when it comes to the VIP list of businessmen and contractors supported by the chief minister and the political dispensation, our institutions bend their back backwards to extend every possible legitimate and illegitimate assistances and favours to them – most often than not in clear violation of laws, rules and merit.”
The NC spokesperson added, “For all the tall claims of the finance minister, he continues to be an accentuating factor in supporting an exclusive list of businessmen while being dismissive of those young first generation entrepreneurs who deserve nurturing, support and facilitation through a legitimate, objective approach.”
“Our economy continues to shrink as thousands of small businesses and start-ups are at the verge of closure. One hopes against hope the chief minister contributes more than theatrics and photo-op events and devises economic initiatives to help our young entrepreneurs and not just a few business houses who are in collusion with her party and ministers,” he said.
“Contracts in various departments worth crores have been handed out to proxies of PDP and close associates of the chief minister and there are numerous well-substantiated complaints of some sort of a political filter being used at our financial institutions where our widows, destitute, pensioners and employees deposit every penny of their hard earned salaries and savings,” the NC spokesperson said, adding, “The government should stop this brazen crony capitalism forthwith and initiate an inquiry into these dealings which could quite possibly collectively amount to thousands of crores… I have met some entrepreneurs who have handed over tangible and shocking proofs of this collusion.”