Srinagar: – Kashmir Small Scale Industrial Association (KSSIA) Baghi Ali Mardan Khan has lambasted the state government for its contradictory statements on the state industrial policy. In a meeting of the association under the chairmanship of its President Syed Fazal Illahi, the members termed the strange contradiction nothing but a sinister plan to allot large chunks of land to non state subjects in the name of so-called investment and further suppress the entrepreneurship in Kashmir. The members said that history is testimony to the fact that no outsider has ever invested in the state in order to provide employment to the locals but to grab the benefits after exploiting the provisions of industrial policies. The investment made in some units in Jammu and Kathua also include so called units which processed menthol and copper only on books and fraudulently grabbed hundreds of crores of incentives. In Kashmir scores of non state subjects have been allotted land in industrial estates in the past but none is working. Some of these units in Lethpora, Zainakote etc have sub-leased their land to forces and others in contravention to the rules and are enjoying rentals from them.
The members also took a strong note of discrimination meted out to the valley against other region. Only 7000 Kanals of land has been developed and provided by the government to valley based entrepreneurs in organised industrial estates against more than 20000 kanals of such land in two districts of Jammu, observed the members. Interestingly, the ministry of industries has been manned by a Jammuite for decades alongwith most of the officers in different wings of the department who have miserably failed to mitigate the genuine problems of valley based entrepreneurs. In fact there have been attempts to suppress entrepreneurship in the valley which continues unabated rather have enhanced in recent times. Government has failed to take cognizance of the brazen inequality that more than 95% of incentives under Central Industrial policy were distributed among the units of Jammu and Kathua. Criticising the government on industrial policy and ease of doing business, the members observed that both these policies are full of shortfalls and contradictions. The policies are not made in closed rooms but in consultation with the stakeholders in an open and transparent manner. The members observed that attempts are being made to harass and suppress Kashmir based industry on one pretext or the other. The snapping of electricity of a steel plant in Lassipora, closure of mining operations of gypsum in Uri and harassment of food processing units are some recent attempts of larger conspiracy against valley based units, the members observed.
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Fazal Illahi acknowledged the crucial and miserable times ahead for the industry owing to the attempted onslaught on the constitution of J&K besides government’s casual approach to address the grave issues of industry. Three ministers and the chief minister have given four different statements and versions about their intentions to develop industry in the state, he observed adding that confusion in minds of all the four leads to the suspicion that the knots are tied somewhere else. He urged upon the government to put the industrial policy on hold before initiating a debate and deliberations with the stakeholders.
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