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Srinagar, May 12: A delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, President today held an interaction with Satya Pal Malik, Hon’ble Governor at Raj Bhawan on Saturday. Several urgent issues like the stranded goods vehicles on the National Highway, air and road connectivity problems, issues related to the Tourism Sector, Dal Lake Management, Horticulture and Agriculture Sector, Carpet/Handicrafts Sector, Industrial Sector, Cross LOC Trade and Flood Prevention and Management issues.

Shiekh Ashiq Ahmad brought the concern of the business community over the unprecedented condition of the Srinagar – Jammu road link to the attention of the Hon’ble Governor.

The summary of the KCC&I suggestions made are reproduced here:

·    Holding of an meeting with the National Highway Authorities and representatives of Ministry of Surface Transport for ensuring urgent repairs of the Jammu Srinagar road link for uninterrupted movement.

·    Follow up on the proposal of declaration of the 84 kms Mughal Road as a National Highway which has already been agreed to in principal and process for feasibility study and preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) proposals already invited.

·     Air Connectivity between Srinagar and Jammu on the pattern of the regional connectivity UDAN Scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation could be the key to resolving the connectivity issue for tourists and general public.

The Hon’ble Governor asked the KCC&I delegation to meet Divisional Commissioner Kashmir who would coordinate with the Divisional Commissioner Jammu for clearance of the stranded vehicles on the Highway and also set up a redressal mechanism to address the various problems.

Apart from the problems of the highway, the public suffers tremendously due to the engineering/planning blunders of the Government. Srinagar City is divided by the River Jhelum and a lot of bridges were constructed during the pre partition era. But strangely with the huge increase in traffic and the requirement for more motorable bridges growing, the Government has instead embarked on a foot-bridge building spree.

In this regard, the bridges at Rajbagh, an area which caters to more than 80 percent of the city traffic, are a case in point. Within a span of about 2 kms there are three foot-bridges and only one motorable bridge. One amongst them was originally designed as a motorable bridge and converted into a foot bridge in the final stages to it’s completion. This causes daily traffic jams and puts the general public to great inconvenience. Your kind intervention is sought for conversion of these bridges to motorable bridges. 

 Carpet/Handicraft Sector:

This sector has been contributing to provide employment to large number of people especially women folk over centuries. It is a Cottage Industry having a good domestic and global market potential and needs support. The implementation of GST has had a negative impact on this sector.

The KCC&I has already submitted a detailed report for the revival of the carpet sector which is pending the consideration of the State and Central Government. The Hon’ble Governor while appreciating the efforts of the KCC&I stated that necessary directions would be issued to Mr Naveen K Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce. 

The Hon’ble Governor was apprised of the fact that even though the North-East Industrial Package was extended to our State after special intervention by Mr Satya Pal Malik but the entreprenuers of the State were not able to benefit from these packages due to the non-availability of land for industrial use and other procedural constraints like pollution clearances etc.

Tourism having been declared as an Industry stood deprived of its benefits. The Government had in the year 2018 announced Power Tariff subsidy for this sector but the same was later curtailed to a period of only one year. The Hon’ble Governor informed the delegation that the matter was being considered and orders in this regard would be following soon. Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad requested the Hon’ble Governor that the issue needed final settlement and it would be in the larger interest of our Tourism Sector that our hotels are charged industrial rate power tariff.

Efforts for saving Dal Lake have to be made on priority in view of growing pollution from time to time and shrinking of the Lake. The Government has to be very serious to enforce safeguards. Common STPs have to be made functional to protect water bodies and control pollution.

We have repeated instances of losses in Agriculture and Horticulture Sector on account on droughts and Natural Calamities. Unfortunately crop insurance scheme is not operative in Kashmir adding to the miseries of growers in Kashmir.  

We are facing losses in every sector on account of aftermaths of 2014 floods. Unfortunately over the years no serious attention has been given to control the floods in the future. We thank you for your kind intervention in this regard but request for further follow up measures to prevent and manage floods.

The closure of Cross LOC Trade has affected the business community and we would request your kind self to restore the Trade at the earliest. Traders have been stuck with huge inventory and they need to be given suitable time to clear the same. While we appreciate measures for transparency in the trade but at the same time the important CBM needs to be protected from irreparable damage. The KCC&I also urges that our organisation should also be consulted for devising fool proof mechanisms.

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