JAMMU: Jammu-based Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tuesday appealed to the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government to defer the proposed Panchayat polls till August in the interest of the tourism industry in the state.
In December, the chief minister had announced her government’s decision to hold the Panchayat polls from February 15.
She later convened an all-party meeting here on Sunday to discuss the Panchayat polls where majority of the opposition parties favoured the deferment of the polls for the time being over the law and order situation in the Valley.
“We appeal to the chief minister to delay the holding of the Panchayat elections at this crucial juncture for the trade and industry at the onset of tourism season,” President of JCCI Rakesh Gupta told reporters here.
He said that the tourism industry, being the backbone of the economy of the state, has suffered continuously because of the law and order problems.
“Any decision regarding holding of any type of elections would have a cascading effect and badly hit the inbound tourism,” he said and suggested the government to hold the polls after August.
Gupta said that the hotels have got 15 to 20 per cent bookings and they expect it to be 100 per cent this year.
“It is the duty of everyone to keep the state incident- free to make this a reality to save the tourism and transport industry and the common interests of people at large,” he said.
Gupta asked all the political parties to rise above party politics to make the state peaceful, keeping in view the sufferings of the people at large and also for the stability of the economy post-demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax implementation.
“The JCCI, on its part, has decided to launch a movement ‘The Way Forward’ wherein the Chamber would call upon the leadership of all political parties and seek their cooperation to maintain peace and welcome the guests from other parts of the country and abroad for adventure, sports, holidays and pilgrimage.
“The Jammu Chamber is in talks with the Kashmir Chamber and may soon jointly appeal to the Hurriyat leadership for cooperation by not calling for strikes. It will be practically a genuine and realistic gesture for the welfare of the people of the state,” he said.
He said the JCCI is of the view that bridging gaps between the three regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh — was the need of the hour and both the Chambers would leave no stone unturned to make strong bonding between the three regions a reality.