Srinagar: Governor Satya Pal Malik’s move to declare Jammu & Kashmir Bank as Public Sector Undertaking (PSUs) is motivated by New Delhi as a step to merge it with some or any nationalised bank, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) said on Sunday.
The amalgam of various trade bodies said the move was aimed at taking away the few remaining financial powers of the state.
Talking to reporters, KEA Vice Chairman Muhammad Iqbal Tramboo said that over the last eight months, forces in New Delhi have been trying hard to target JK Bank which has now led to the recent move.
“JK Bank has been there for people after Allah to relieve the tough times of financial stress. Now this too is being attacked, something that can’t be accepted at any cost,” he said.
What Tramboo meant was that banks in India are under the control of central government with exception of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, control of which is with the state. All its decisions are taken by the board of directors, and its chairman. They are accountable to the Reserve Bank of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), and its own internal audits.
Now, due to the bank being brought under the ambit of RTI Act, it is being made accountable to legislators and asked to produce annual reports in the assembly. This will bring it at par with the failed PSUs operating in the state.
KEA Chairman Muhammad Yaseen Khan said that all the existing PSUs are not only a liability, but an example of the failed system which is being tried to be implemented for the JK Bank.
“All of us know their state, so why do the same with the bank which is not only a listed company but also a profit making asset of the state,” he added.
All 18 PSUs have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 191 crore in the past two years until March this year. J&K Cements Ltd tops the list with a loss of Rs 46.74 crore-Rs 31.73 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 15.01 crore in 2017-18. JK State Road Transport Corporation and JK State Financial Corporation are other PSUs suffering huge losses with the latter posting losses of Rs 1.02 crore in 2016-17, way more than its losses of Rs 45.73 lakh in the year before. The state government had to infuse money to keep them alive, without much results.
“So we ask the government to roll back the order immediately before we begin mobilising people for state-wide agitation. The order has not come from the elected but from the selected ones whose mandate is only to manage road, electricity and water,” said Yaseen.