Ziraat Times Team
Srinagar, February, 25:
How inter-dependent are Kashmir and Jammu regions in the areas of trade, commerce, industries, services, education and so on? What does this inter-dependence means to the state’s economy?
This week Ziraat Times brings to its readers wide-ranging views from politicians and business leaders on this highly debated issue.
We have already appealed for restraint in Jammu and other parts of the country in wake of reported attacks and harassment against Kashmiris. There is no denying that fact that Jammu and Kashmir are two faces of one coin.
We expect that the mature civil society of the Jammu will not heed the divisive agenda of certain rouge outfits. There are rouge elements in every society and the need of the hour is to sideline such elements.
I also welcome the recent statement of Jammu chamber of commerce for showing aversion for such violence and coming down strongly on communal frenzy. I urge the incumbent governor administration to recompense the material losses to the affected. Government of India is, unfortunately, unwilling to accept the political nature of Kashmir issue. Nowadays, we get to see how dialogue is used as a medium to bring about rapprochement by various opposing factions between themselves.
The situation in the world is changing, and the role of dialogue has gained currency in conflict resolution throughout the world. It is high time for the GOI to understand the utility of dialogue and give peace a chance to thrive in sub-continent.
It is beyond doubt that Jammu and Kashmir regions are dependent on each other. Though some incidents have happened which are condemnable, but we have always stressed on deliberations and discussion to iron out differences, so that all the provinces of the state are on same page for the economic development and progress of Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu & Kashmir along with Ladakh is an inseparable entity. Considering the economic interdependence on each other, there seems no scope of staying isolated. People assume that since Kashmir has majority of Muslims and Jammu has majority of Non-Muslims, its easy to impart hatred or divide both the communities for their political benefits. Even in the grave situation that happened recently, there were people who politicized it for their own benefits. Ziraat Times is coming as an ardent and immediate voice in such period of chaos and confusion. This divisive situation is revealing the blindfolded regimes whose eyes are covered by the layers of hatred and dogma. The more people stand hand in hand, the more upliftment it is towards prosperity and peace. Communal harmony is a must to live happily and humanely.
I consider Jammu and Kashmir as single entity. Our trade and economy are interdependent, and we prefer this regional inter-dependence. Some people have recently been talking about snapping the business tie ups and it cannot and shouldn’t happen. We are children of same soil and we need to resolve the problems through interaction and dialogue.
Almost Rs 25000 crore of Jammu economy is dependent on Kashmir by means of agri and allied agri products, various intermediaries, education, health and pilgrimage tourism. In comparison to this, around Rs 7000 crore of Kashmir economy is depend on Jammu in terms of horticulture and handicrafts. It’s not wise to punish the whole society for the sin of some selected criminals.
There is no denying the fact that Jammu and Kashmir’s commerce and trade activities are inter-linked with each other. We cannot even compete with other states due to our geographical disadvantage. Though there are elements who try to create wedge, but all i can say is that all the three regions of the state Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have to co-exist and engage with each other for the betterment of the state.
For Jammu, Kashmir is the main market. Similarly for Kashmir, Jammu is the market. Besides trade and commerce, there is a social bonding between two regions. Despite the fact that from last few years there are attempts being made to create division, both the regions have stood against those attempts. There are lot of Muslim families across both regions who have entered into marital relationships with each other which has further strengthened the bond.
80 percent of industrial production in Jammu finds its market in Kashmir region. More than Rs 20,000 crore worth goods and finished products are imported from Jammu. Therefore, Jammu ‘s Industry is mostly dependent on Kashmir. Similarly, Kashmir also has its share of dependency on Jammu, but it is the Jammu which gets maximum trade share from Kashmir. Therefore, it become imperative upon the Jammu based traders bodies and associations to be more cautious while issuing any statement.
Jammu based trade bodies should not indulge in politics particularly in a state like J&K which is a very sensitive state.
Union is always strength. Our both regions, be it Jammu or Kashmir, need each other for economic upliftment and development. We should not allow anti-social elements to divide us and exploit the situation to get political mileage. Trade and commerce wise we are linked, socially and culturally our relations are beyond division.
President, Jammu Poultry Association
Jammu and Kashmir is one state. We have annual durbar move, when our students from Kashmir come to Jammu for studies during winter months and vice-versa Jammu-based students travel to Kashmir for studies. How can we break this bond? It is beyond imagination. Education wise, socially, culturally, emotionally we are interconnected so much so that our existence is heavily dependent on each other.
Implementation of one tax regime GST has made Kashmir less dependent on Jammu. Now we can get any supply at same rate at any place. So in this regard you can say that trade wise there is less dependence. But, yes, Srinagar-Jammu Highway through which estimated 15 percent of tourist come to Kashmir, is a big factor. But tourism wise, mostly people visit Kashmir as there are not too many tourism attraction points in Jammu therefore the main tourism influx is to Kashmir.
Most of the commissioning and forwarding agents of multi-national companies of FMCG are located in Jammu. But 70 percent of the consumption of their products is in Kashmir Valley. It is high time that the MNCs should re-open their offices in Kashmir and appoint CNFs in Kashmir as we have seen that how much Kashmir incurs losses due to closure of Highway.
Congress party has always favored regional harmony and cooperation among all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir. There is no denying this fact. But ironically, the policy of the BJP led government has created a peculiar situation in the state, however Congress party will always fight against those elements who are hell-bent to create wedge in our state.
Jammu & Kashmir regions are interdependent on each other. There are some anti-social elements that try to provoke the situation and get benefits politically. They have done it in the past also. Even during the previous Amarnath Agitation those vested elements did their best to get political mileage out of it. Despite these disturbances, people of Jammu & Kashmir have stood united and proved their Unity. Even in 1947, there has been no communal violence in J&K but what happened recently at Gujar Nagar has put our heads down. People are condemning such acts. In Kashmir, PDP for its political gains and In Jammu, BJP for the same tried to provoke people even after the Pulwama attacks. Business chambers have been talking about breaking the ties with each other and we all know that it will be a loss for Jammu & Kashmir.
Both the divisions are dependent on each other but Jammu is more dependent on the Kashmir Division. Jammu doesn’t consume our fruits itself, but Jammu-based traders act as forwarding agents. About 2 crore boxes of fruits are exported to Jammu from Kashmir. And the trade value of vegetables from Kashmir to Jammu in Summer is about Rs 70-80 crore. Besides this, a lot of dry fruits are also exported to Jammu from Kashmir.
The industrial and other manufacturing sectors should be encouraged in the Kashmir region to make us more independent. We can easily purchase our supply from any other state and bypass Jammu.
As far as interdependence of these two regions is concerned, it has been there since the birth of the state, i.e, Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh. We have been dependent on each other earlier as well and so are today. Our business is dependent on both the regions. Kashmiris have no other route to connect to big markets for their business and Jammu business has a good market in Kashmir. Neither can we live in isolation and nor can we afford that. In today’s time, we are seeking more co-operation, more areas of investment opportunities/options and some anti-social elements are working against that too. There is this old tradition of moving to the winter capital for almost 4-6 months due to harsh weather conditions. Despite all odds, Kashmir’s are investing in Jammu and we cannot afford to get separated from each other.
The division of our state into Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh is inherited and this division has its own challenges. Despite these challenges, we have co-existed. Even though some people tried to polarize the two regions but people of Kashmir and Jammu have always stood up for the unity. Almost 30 lakh people from Kashmir visit Jammu and vice versa. There are some other relations also by way of which we co-exist, like trade & commerce, networking, social attachment and other networking things.
The people of Jammu & Kashmir have always helped one another in times of joy and sorrows. They have always lived in peace and harmony. They are connected socially and economically. People from both the divisions work together, live together and trade together.
I was very much pleased when the Jammu Chamber of Commerce & Industries met Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industries and discussed their issues with one another and tried to find a solution to these issues. But some people are exploiting the youth to disturb the communal harmony for their own political gains. I want a stern action against those people who are disturbing the peace so that in future no one will dare to do such shameful acts.
Let cooler and saner heads prevail; it is a suitable advice to the travel and trade bodies of the state who are on a head-on confrontation. Given that few unscrupulous elements are trying to maneuver things into communal with the help of manufactured riots for their petty personal/political gains, we have to be careful.
It is high time that the chambers and other trade bodies must unite and work towards defusing the situation, and uphold the mandate for which they have been chosen. Politicizing the issue will not serve anyone’s purpose and any confrontation will have a long lasting effect on the economy of the state.
It is an irony that a sense of fear is being perpetuated through hired goons, among the common masses (whom are peace lovers) of the valley living/working outside. In a situation where students, even government employees are in a state of fear the authorities need to take remedial measures for its permanent solution. How an employee can work when his full attention is towards the safety of his family? The practices like Darbar Move also needs to be abolished which does not serve any purpose and is a huge burden on the state exchequer.