J&K Govt Mulls Closure, Privatisation of PSUs, Parties Oppose

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Proposes privatization of J&K Cements Limited; Merger of Handloom and Handicrafts Corporations

Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir government is mulling closure and privatization of the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)under the administrative control of Industries and Commerce.

On the directions of Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, the Raj Bhavan has written to commissioner secretary Industries and Commerce to prepare a roadmap for closure, privatization and merger of PSUs.

The changes are aimed at cutting the wasteful expenditure being incurred by the Industries and Commerce Department in running these loss making PSUs/corporations.

I&C department is administrative department for these PSUs. According to the communique, the Industries and Commerce department should devise a detailed road map with defined timelines for closure/ privatization/ merger of PSU/ Corporations.

“A detailed assessment of assets of the Corporations to be closed be also made for their disposal under rules. A comprehensive plan for their rehabilitation of the staff of the corporations to be closed/ merged be also worked out by the department,” the letter states.

The LG’s secretariat has proposed closure of SICOP which was set up in I975 for promotion and development of the small scale industries in Jammu & Kashmir.

“Jammu and Kashmir State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) should manage all the industrial estates of the Union Territory to promote large medium and small scale industries. SICOP should be closed and all the industrial estates presently managed by SICOP should be transferred to SIDCO,” the communique states.

J&K SIDCO is the nodal agency for promotion & development of medium and large scale Industries in the state.

The letter also proposes closure of Jammu & Kashmir Minerals Limited which was incorporated as first PSU of Jammu and Kashmir in 1960 for exploiting the mineral resources and to establish mineral based industries in Jammu and Kashmir.

“J&K minerals be closed and the mineral sites being managed by it be auctioned as per norms,” the letter states.

According to the letter, J&K Cements Limited be privatized after assessment of its assets in transparent manner. J&K Cements Limited was incorporated as a fully owned Government Company in December, 1974 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The LG’s secretariat has also proposed that the J&K industries Ltd. be closed and the industrial units run by it be privatized/auctioned.

Established in 1963, J&K Industries Limited is presently managing 16 manufacturing units. The Raj Bhavan has also proposed that J&K Handicraft (S&E) corporation be merged with J&K state Handloom Development Corporation.

Meanwhile, Industries and Commerce department has constituted a committee to finalise modalities for merger of Handicrafts Corporation and Handloom Development Department Corporation.

The committee is headed by administrative secretary Industries and Commerce and comprises representatives from different departments.

NC, PDP Oppose Govt Move

Meanwhile the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to rescind a six month old order to merge or close several sick public sector undertakings in the union territory.

“The J&K government’s decision to close many PSUs is shocking….This order is unfair and must be rescinded,” National Conference tweeted on it official handle.

The party said the administration was bent upon adding to the soaring unemployment numbers.

“Instead of creating new jobs, JK administration seems adamant in adding to soaring unemployment numbers by terminating scores of existing government employees,” it added.

The PDP termed the move appalling.

“The decision to close many PSUs by the J&K administration is appalling. At a time when J&K is fighting unemployment & there’s a need to create more jobs, the admin’s move is plainly an attempt to add to the rising unemployment numbers by ceasing scores of existing govt employees!” it tweeted.

Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) also lashed out at the Union Territory administration for the privatization and auctioning of the industries and assets of the J&K industries Ltd, J&K minerals and J&K cements besides closing down of the SICOP.

In a statement JKPCC has termed the decision as ‘unfortunate’ and against the interests of the employees and the larger interests of the people. “The government of India and the government of Jammu and Kashmir are on the auction spree of all government PSUs,” JKPCC said.

JKPCC Spokesperson has termed the move as the result of the failures to put in the best experts and professionals to manage these organizations and it would further shrink the chances of employment to youth besides affecting large employees of these organizations.

The party has asked the government to review the decisions to save assets of the government and to create more job opportunities rather than shutting down the job opportunities. “Such decisions are not acceptable to the people especially youth,” JKPCC said.

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