KCCI delegation calls on Div Com Kashmir, seeks redressal of issues

Srinagar: A delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday met Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole and sought redressal of various issues faced by different business sectors in the face of the prevailing COVID-19 lockdown.
The delegation comprised of members representing various economic sectors including hotels, handicrafts, tourism and travel, general trade and FMCG, food processing, horticulture and representatives of the Industrial Estate Lassipora and CA Stores Association Lassipora.
A statement issued by the KCC&I said that the delegation took up the issues faced by the residents of Kashmir stranded at various places within the country and abroad.
It thanked the administration for taking up the issue with the highest authorities and arranging direct flights for students from Bangladesh and also special buses and trains for residents from various places in the country.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir informed the delegation about the steps taken by the Government in this regard.
He stated that the administration was in regular touch with senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs adding that the residents desirous of coming back had to follow a detailed procedure devised for this purpose which started with their registration at the respective Embassy.
Pole however told the delegation that so far the number of such registrations was not enough to warrant special flights to Delhi.
To this, the KCC&I delegation suggested to consider direct flights on sectors like Dubai-Srinagar in order to add to the volumes.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir asked the KCC&I to do an preliminary exercise in this regard and said the government would extend all support for the early and safe return of all stranded residents, wherever they may be.
The delegation also apprised the divisional commissioner about various issues confronting the Horticulture sector especially the time-sensitive crops like apples and cherries.
It told the divisional commissioner that the pandemic had disrupted the traditional markets for these products and hit prices.
Pole informed the members of the delegation that the government was already working on the issue and it was not only the problem of transportation but also disruption of forward linkages of customary markets. He said the government was trying to make operational maximum number of local canning units which could preserve part of the cherry crop.
Pole also asked the KCC&I delegation to explore potential markets saying the government would be willing to support air transfer in cases of confirmed buyers.
Members from the general trade and FMCG sector highlighted the problems of continuous closure and stockpiling of potentially dead stocks.
They stated that despite general directions for opening of shops dealing in essential commodities and groceries, provision stores and supermarkets in Kashmir had not so far been allowed to open their shutters with only some designated shops being allowed to run for home deliveries even as they were also facing various problems in purchases of stocks as well as making deliveries.
The delegation complained that the C&F Agents/Distributors dealing in essential commodities have not been able to settle accounting issues with the huge number of shops lying closed nor have they been able to move stocks in a planned manner adding that the cash flow has been severely disrupted.
The divisional commissioner Kashmir said that the ground situation was different in Kashmir being a Red Zone.
He however said the government would consider opening of more shops dealing in essential commodities and adked the KCC&I to compile a list of shops opening of which would ease the supply situation further and also help the wholesalers/distributors to conduct business in a planned manner.
The KCCI statement said that the continuous closure of shops dealing in mobile phones and losses suffered by the dealers was also discussed.
President of KHAROF, Wahid Malik discussed the operational problems of Hotels being used as COVID-19 facility. Manzoor Pakhtoon, Chairman, JKTA highlighted the problems of the tourism sector including houseboats and tour/travel sector.
The representatives of the CA Stores Association and Lassipora Industrial Estate thanked thanked the divisional commissioner Kashmir for his personal intervention after one positive case was detected in Lassipora Estate after which the whole Estate was locked down.
The representatives said that the divisional commissioner had been kind enough to visit Lassipora personally and supervise the early resumption of operations.
They also drew the attention of divisional commissioner towards the closure of a CA Store in Rangreth Industrial Area with substantial stocks lying inside.
The divisional commissioner Kashmir stated that they were following prescribed protocols but the issue of stocks would be considered. Pole asked the business community to come forward and take effective precautionary steps to sanitise areas of operation.
He appreciated the role played by the KCC&I in spreading awareness about the measures required to be taken by business establishments for safe operations.
He said that the sharing of responsibility by the administration and the business community was important for overcoming the unprecedented crisis successfully.
As per the KCCI statement, the problems being faced in transportation of goods was also brought to the notice of the divisional commissioner Kashmir.
Pole said the government had decided to exempt Goods Carrier Vehicles from the requirement of movement passes and a public notification would be soon issued in this regard.
The KCC&I thanked the divisional commissioner Kashmir for the interaction and deliberations on pressing issues.

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