J&K trade bodies wary about investment by non-local companies

JCCI, KCCI cite past experiences

SRINAGAR: Investment proposals moved by the outside business houses after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir have evoked little interest among the region’s trade bodies citing past experiences.
After the abrogation of J&K’s special constitutional status, which allowed non-locals to buy immovable property, many top notch companies have shown keen interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir. The companies include
Shree Cements, Jackson Group, Indian School of Business, Dalmiya Bharati and Lullu Group.
Two main business bodies comprising Jammu Chamber of Commerce (JCCI) and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce (KCCI) say the interest shown by business houses won’t mean anything until they invest and contribute to the local economy
in a sustained manner.
President JCCI Rakesh Gupta told Kashmir Reader that hundreds of outside companies have shown interest in past as well. But only a few invested and eventually wound up their businesses, he said.
He cited examples of Sun Pharma, Hindustan Lever Limited and questioned about their current status.
“Where are they now,” asks Gupta.
According to him, the companies will only invest when the government has an industrial package to offer. Else, nobody will come in reality, he added.
“This is the trend anywhere in the country. Investment by outsiders in Kashmir has more to do with the industrial package than with abrogation of Article 370 and 35A,” the JCCI president said adding, outside companies should
work for at least 15 years.
His counterpart in Kashmir, Sheikh Ashiq, concurs with Gupta. Companies, he said, in the past as well showed interest but questions how many are running their operations now.
“These companies would only come if they will get benefits from the government. This is quite vivid from the interest expression document in which they have asked for 15 years of tax holiday, which means they will come only
when they get it.
“If the government is keen for investment, what they will do for the locals who have been key players in Kashmir,” he said.
According to Sheikh, land was not available with the government for local industries. “We will see where the government will get the land from,” he added.
A senior officer of J&K industries and commerce department told Kashmir Reader that it is following ‘wait and watch’ policy because only interest in investment is not enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.