SRINAGAR (ONS) – Citing Jammu and Kashmirs massive human and economic loss in fighting militancy, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday made a strong plea for bigger central assistance and return of major power projects by reminding New Delhi that the state had been wounded in protecting India.
He said that clubbing J and K with hilly states for central financial support fell short of justice for its people who had borne the brunt of militancy, suffered untold misery, and lost precious human lives while the rest of the country was reaping the benefits of liberalised industrial policy.
Militancy was targeted against the entire nation, and Jammu and Kashmir was the theatre for enemies to operationalize their designs, the chief minister said at an ASSOCHAM seminar in Jammu.
We have sacrificed life and property, thousands of women have been widowed and children orphaned. We have undergone a tremendous downward dip in economy, the progress of the state had come to a standstill, thousands of youth were rendered jobless and trade and industry have received a series of jolts, Abdullah said.
Jammu and Kashmir was injured in protecting the country. This truth needs to be borne in mind when the question of extending support to the state arises, he said.
In order to help the state to overcome industrial backwardness and economic shortcomings, the central government should announce a rail coach factory here as it has done for Punjab for the same reason, he said.
The chief minister also emphasized on the transfer of Salal, Dulhasti and Uri power projects to the state, while stressing on support designed specifically for its specific needs.
When the entire country was reaping the benefits of liberalization of industrial policy, Jammu and Kashmir was fighting the militancy war for the country. Justice demands that we should be compensated, and that too substantially for this reason, he asserted.
Do not take us at par with other states. We have been on the forefront to safeguard the country. We have sacrificed for the nation. Do not place us in the category of hilly states when the question of extending help to Jammu and Kashmir arises, he said.
Addressing the seminar on Building Capacities for Sustainable Growth in Jammu and Kashmir organized by ASSOCHAM India, the chief minister said that the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector had been the engine of growth in any economy and contributed the lions share in investment, employment, production and productivity.
But it is the large industries which remain in focus for attention, he said.
The MSME sector in the state has bravely withstood the turbulence, security issues, financial problems and many more difficulties associated with militancy, and continued to contribute in the uplift of the states economy.
Many units sank while many swam through turbulent waters and sustained themselves in the unfavourable environment. This denotes the enthusiasm and capacity of local entrepreneurs to face challenges, he said.
The chief minister said that his government had focused on the growth and uplift of local entrepreneurs and development of the MSME sector.
Small unit holders are receiving concentrated attention of the government to help them grow on their own feet and attain new highs in the field. The total dependence of the MSME sector on government procurement and concessions in a way puts hurdles in their growth and development, he said.
Abdullah said that industrial unit holders should not entirely depend on these two factors but explore the free market for sustainable growth. He ensured full support of the government to local industrialists in this regard.
The dependence on concessions and government procurement puts you at risk on the business front. If these two are not available, your business will be at serious risk, he said.
He said that the role of the government in industrial development was of creating the best possible environment for entrepreneurs to take advantage of and grow.
I am also not in favour of reserving economic sectors for small and medium industries to venture into. It should be left to them to invest as per their ability and capacity in the industrial fields they choose, he said.
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