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Valley economy suffered a loss of over Rs 40,000 crore, entrepreneurs tell new J&K LG

Valley economy suffered a loss of over Rs 40,000 crore, entrepreneurs tell new J&K LG

After reaching out to the much depressed entrepreneurs in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has learned that the valley has suffered a cumulative loss between Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore due to the prolonged shutdowns in the last over one year.

At his maiden interaction with a 16-member delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), which included its President Sheikh Ashiq Hussain and representatives from over a dozen of traders and industrialists, Sinha was apprised how unemployment in Kashmir had grown up to menacing proportions and how the industry has been grounded to a halt due to prolonged shutdowns after August 2019. Senior government functionaries, including Advisor industries K.K. Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, other top bureaucrats and heads of departments attended the meeting at Raj Bhawan in Srinagar on Monday.

<img class="wp-image-9749 size-large" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/bdd39cac36fd76889084cdc136163fd8-1024×688.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="688" /> Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar (IANS)

According to the officials and the entrepreneurs present in the meeting, the KCCI President Sheikh Ashiq elaborated in his detailed presentation that his chamber had submitted a memorandum for revival of economy and trade to the former LG Girish Chandra Murmu around four months ago. While the government had imposed restrictions for about two months, traders had not dared to resume businesses for the next four or five months after some wholesale dealers and fruit merchants were shot dead presumably for operating in defiance of a call of shutdown from anonymous persons.

Even as the educational institutions, banks, government and private offices and almost all businesses opened and ran smoothly in March, the unending lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic forced closure of entire activity. It brought trade, tourism, education, development, employment, everything, to a halt for another five months. Sheikh Ashiq impressed upon LG Sinha that the government must formulate a comprehensive plan for revival of the local businesses.

In order to identify and resolve the problems faced by the traders, Lt Governor Sinha has constituted a committee headed by Advisor incharge industry, K.K. Sharma. The committee would work out modalities for the economic revival and propose measures for extending the much-needed support to the business community and submit its report by September 1. Financial Commissioner Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Commissioner-Secretary (Industries and Commerce), Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Secretary Tourism Zuber Ahmad and Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd R.K. Chhibber have been appointed as members of the committee.

"We submitted minutes of our meeting with different authorities in Srinagar, Jammu and New Delhi and the decisions taken at different forums, including the erstwhile State Advisory Committee, to the new LG. We appreciate the way he called us and listened to us with all attention and formed a high level committee on the spot. But unfortunately we have also some bitter experiences and there is an element of cynicism and scepticism within the traders community as every officer, including Governors and the Union Cabinet Ministers, have heard us patiently, given assurances of revival and packages but done little to implement the same," said Sheikh Ashiq.

The KCCI delegation apprised the Lt Governor about a range of issues concerning the prominent business sectors including industries, hospitality, handicrafts, houseboats, tourism, private schools, controlled atmosphere storages for apples and other fresh fruits. It also projected the socio-economic problems being faced by the people, especially the business community due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors.

An official spokesman said that the interaction proved to be a gainful event for the trade bodies as important decisions were made including framing of a committee to make an assessment of the overall economic scenario and propose fresh measures to ensure its revival; extension of Power Amnesty Scheme and taking a holistic view of policy and guidelines for registration, renewal and operation of house boats.

Taking cognizance of the demands raised by various members of the umbrella body to extend the benefits under the Power Amnesty Scheme, Lt Governor issued on-spot directions to extend the last date for availing of benefits under Power Amnesty Scheme upto September 30.

During the meeting, Sinha said that trade and industries were major impact sectors for the economic development of any region and more effective measures were on cards to develop a conducive environment for development and growth of the industrial and business sectors. He directed the concerned officers to devise an institutional mechanism for taking on board all stakeholders while formulating policies and other related issues, besides taking a fresh holistic review, after examining stakeholder concerns, in respect of policy/guidelines for registration, renewal/operation of house boats.

Redressing the issues, the Lt Governor assured the members of the delegation that a compassionate view would be taken for the redressal of the issues and demands projected by them. He added that the government is committed to addressing the issues concerning the Industries besides promoting entrepreneurship and business opportunities for the youth of J&amp;K..