KP Web Desk 14 oct 2017

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (INC)
The Joint press conference of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry held on 14th of October, 2017 at Chamber office, Residency Road, Srinagar. This press conference has been convened to invite attention towards urgent and important following issues which we are confronted with.

We appeal to parents, teachers, social groups, intellectuals and leaders of all levels to intervene and help in dispersal of these groups and restoring normalcy in the State. We urge and appeal all quarters to exercise maximum restraint. We also request the authorities responsible for maintaining Law and Order to initiate measures for restoring confidence of the general public so that normalcy is restored and also take effective action to bring culprits to book.

It seems to have become a routine with leaders holding responsible positions in the State and the Central Government to issue statements which tend to disregard the views and sentiments of the people of our State and also threaten to vitiate the harmony of the State. The latest in this sequence would be the statement issued by the Mr. R K Singh, Union Power Minister who has ruled out the return of these projects and proceeded to compare Jammu and Kashmir with Uttar Pradesh and other states. We respectfully submit that Jammu and Kashmir, because of its unique constitutional position can never be compared to Uttar Pradesh or any other state of the country. We have reason to believe that our resources have been exploited and would simply like to have our losses quantified and compensated.
Without going into the merits of the issue, it would be pertinent to mention that the return of the Power Projects has been an important demand of people of Jammu and Kashmir and is based on facts, logic and is seen as a matter of right accrued due to the exploitation of our resources because of the Indus Water Treaty. This demand is supported by political parties across the board and also finds reflection in the Agenda of Alliance of the two parties ruling the State. The Hon’ble Prime Minister is requested to restrain members of his team from issuing any such statement which, apart from being premature and unnecessary, may be seen as a disrespect to the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These are serious and grave issues requiring debate and resolution through engagement. The viewpoint of the people of Jammu and Kashmir needs to be heard and accorded appropriate respect to. As a start, we urge the State Government to aggressively follow up the handing over of those projects whose agreements stand expired.


Our Chambers therefore are proposing the following preliminary interventions by the State/Central Governments for resurrection of our sagging economy through a properly designed package ;
1. Adjustment of interest on restructured loans funded by banks (FITL) for the period from the date of original restructuring to June, 2018 through waiver of the entire interest.
2. Extension and restructuring in repayment of principal amount of loan by a marginal time period till June, 2018.
3. For those borrowers who have not opted for any rehabilitation schemes post flood, concessions by way of reduction of 5 percent in rate of interest for the period commencing from 2014 till date.
4. Banks to make a clear distinction between chronic and wilful defaulters and borrowers whose repayment capacity has been adversely impacted by the circumstances. Whereas, our Chambers have a zero tolerance policy for chronic and wilful defaulters but we would go on to put all our weight behind circumstantial defaulters. They deserve this and maybe more. We expect banks to desist from using any coercive measure, for recovery of the outstanding amount which will be opposed tooth and nail by our Chambers.
5. We would also propose a special preferential scheme for new and young entrepreneurs who wish to make a fresh start in commercial activities.
6. With regard to the enforcement of the SARFAESI Act, our respective Chambers are of the considered opinion that keeping in view the current conditions, any action taken under this Act would be an contradiction to the relief and rehabilitation measures being proposed and detrimental to the larger economic interests of the State.
While as seeking relief and rehabilitation support from the Government and Financial Institutions, our Chambers are also conscious of the need to resurrect the critically stressed sectors of our economy. At the end of the day, our private sector has to survive and stand on their own. Relief and hand holding by the State – although necessary – can only be temporary measures. In this regard, various emergency measures are presently being undertaken.
With regard to the Tourism Sector, we realize that the immediate generation of business is critical at this stage. Our Chambers propose to jointly lead a high powered delegation for direct interaction with the State Governments and Chambers of potential domestic markets across the country. It will be a promotional exercise primarily undertaken by the private sector and all major tourism bodies are requested to assist us in making this a result oriented promotion.

After deliberations between our Chambers we have decided to constitute joint study groups to regularly make public the quantum of loss and wastage, political interference, and lack of accountability in particular PSU’s and most importantly their potential profitability. In this regard, we would start this exercise with focusing on the following PSU’s:

1. The J&K Tourism Development Corporation;
2. The State Road Transport Corporation;
3. The State Power Development Corporation.
4. The J&K Cements Limited.

We realize that the above endeavours would involve a heavy work load and in this context would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all sections of our society, especially our young generation next of students and also academicians, scholars and sector specific experts to come forward and give us logistical support for creating a environment of transparency and accountability in all sections of the society.