Notes on the Industrial Sector in Kashmir

Notes on the Industrial Sector in Kashmir

Musaib Nisar

When we talk about industries in Jammu and Kashmir, it’s almost like the administration has given up on the industrial sector in Kashmir and has never been serious about reviving it. Ever since 1990s land and infrastructure resources have not been utilized as these should have been.
Now, as everyone knows here, it is very hard for youth to become entrepreneurs here. However things are changing. Since the past few years our youth have started to take interest in developing their ideas into businesses The official figures still state that that till February 2014 there were 368 industries in Kashmir that were sick and in miserable condition. Due to this lack of industrial exposure, the unemployment rates have touched the skies over here: How many youth do we see actually studying and making efforts because they dream of starting a business of their own and develop an industry?
The answer is a few to none. We all have this notion of Government jobs, where Settled in life means having this job, working from 9 to 5 and that’s it. This notion has killed the creativity, uniqueness and the ability to take risks to do something big in life among our youth. The biggest industrial investment in Kashmir from the government was in terms of HMT ( Hindustan Mission Tools), a hugely invested in Industry.
It used to employ 1500 people but this unit was shut down due to various factors at play. Volunteer retirements were made and this unit went into a deadlock. Even though the local industrial board tried to convince the government to re-establish this industry, all the efforts were in vain as this unit still remains sick, covering several acres of land The re-establishment of this industry could have helped cope with a huge amount of unemployed youth here in Kashmir. But this is not it, there are hundreds of units like this Industry that can provide the bread and butter to hundreds of families if retained, re-established and restarted, But unfortunately everyone seems to have turned the other cheek towards the industrial sector of Kashmir.
Taking this all into consideration, going through history and coming to the future of Industrial sector in Kashmir, there is a hope, there is chance, there is an opportunity which needs to be taken and well utilized. As our local youth have taken the dream of entrepreneurship and are investing and working hard to establish this long lost industrial sector and refurbish it in their own colours and in the colours ofKkashmir with a modern touch. Undoubtedly there are obstacles and hindrances that a local entrepreneur continuously comes in contact with but still these young people are putting in all their effort, their sweat, skill and hard work to make the private industrial sector walk its way through and reach the heights of success.
Even though it is said that the government is making efforts to develop a well suited revival policy for these industries and has been working towards it, we still need policies that will ensure the growth and survival of these industries. Even when we have many well established industrial areas such as Lassipora, Khanmoh, Akhnoor, Gangyal, we still need growth in our industrial areas. Young entrepreneurs cannot do all this by themselves, They cannot re establish this lost empire by getting financial support from banks and various institutions, Government needs to come up with policies that will not only support these young entrepreneurs financially but will also enable these entrepreneurs to get their idea to a table and build from it what has been lost.

—The author can be reached at: smusaib567@gmail.com