Srinagar: Prominent businessman Sheikh Ashiq was elected on Saturday as the President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the apex trade body in the Kashmir Valley.
Ashiq, who has earlier served twice as the president of the chamber, secured the third highest votes after Abdul Wahid and Javaid Tenga, but was unanimously chosen as president by the highly powered Elected Executive Committee (EEC).
“I am thankful to all those who chose me. It is a huge responsibility, and I will give my all to deliver,” Ashiq told Kashmir Reader.
Ashiq will be assisted by Nasir Hamid Khan as Sr. Vice President, DrAbdul Majid Mir as Jr. Vice President, Farooq Amin Secretary General, Sheikh Gowher Ali as Secretary General and Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon as Treasurer.
However, the 1,300-member-strong KCCI did not chose Arifa, a young, Kashmiri woman entrepreneur who revived Namda, the traditional Kashmiri rug, for any of the posts. She was contesting as the only woman for a seat in the male-dominated, 21-member Executive Committee. Ashiq said she will have a major role in the KCCI and will be heading a committee for the revival of handicrafts in the Valley.
Under Ashq’s presidency during his previous tenures, KCCI has got insurance companies to disburse Rs 2,800 crore to traders affected by the 2014 floods. He has also managed to convince the government to create the much-needed Pashmina bank in Kashmir, which helped artisans by a huge margin.
Now, Ashiq said, his focus will be to rejuvenate the troubled economy of the state, for which he will set priorities with his team. For the next one year, he said, he will do everything he can to get things done.
Ashiq is on the Board of Directors of the Carpet Export Promotion Council and has fought for the reduction of GST on carpets from 12 to 5 percent.
The KCCI is a nearly 100-year-old registered trade body with the mandate to promote business, trade, economic relations, bilateral trade, investment and technology transfer. It facilitates business collaborations, joint ventures, marketing tie-ups and strategic alliances across Kashmir and outside as well.