Srinagar: Terming the financial package announced by Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha as a ray of hope for the business community, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Inc) on Monday urged the government to take more steps to bring relief to the “stressed” business community of the Union Territory.
In a statement issued here, a KCCI spokesperson said that the business community of Kashmir was undergoing a period of unprecedented stress and turbulence and heading towards financial instability. The financial package announced by LG, he said, was a ray of hope for the business community.
“While appreciating the efforts put in by Lt. Governor for the said package. But at the same time most of the announcements in the package are still awaited,” he said.
The spokesperson said that the Committee has recommended an interest subvention of 5% for six months amounting to Rs. 1089.24 Crore, partial waiver of fixed electricity charges for one year amounting to Rs. 80 crore, waiver of water charges for six months costing Rs. 25 crore , time bound one time settlement (OTS) , capital infusion in accordance with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, replacement of old vehicles and insurances support costing Rs. 50 Crore to the transporters support to artist and others costing Rs. 108.75 crore which are partially implemented and needs immediate attention from the J&K Government.
“Various committees were supposed to be constituted like Committee for settlement of bank, finances and industry issues with association representatives as members to be chaired by Finance Department, Committee in each province/district involving members of the business association to address their issues which shall meet every month at District level and every two months at provincial level to settle issues of the business community. The Committee shall have a representative from I&C/ Finance/Bank as its members but the committees were not constituted yet which results in huge problems faced by the industrial sector,” the KCCI spokesperson said.
He further said that the removal of Lakhanpur Toll post has hit the business very badly and a committee was formed to ascertain its effects on the industries but the report has not still come out.
“It is a well-known fact that our export performance over five years have deteriorated to the worst level. To encourage exports from J&K, we need to support at all levels in manufacturing, artisans and weavers. In our recent meeting held with Hon’ble Lt. Governor was kind enough to ensure KCC&I delegation that Government constitute a Export Promotion Board for all Export level issues but till date no Board was constituted,” he said.
He said the tourism sector in general and tour operators in particular were running into the most difficult time due to business losses since August, 2019.
“In the above said financial package subsidy for installation of the bio-digesters in the houseboat, pending payments to the hotels utilized for quarantine facility, issues related to permission for renovation of Hotels / Houseboats with the Committee of experts on LAWDA, simplification of process for renewal of licenses of the Houseboats, extension of Tourism incentives scheme for next 15 years for Travel Agents and Tour Operators, Power Tariff at par with Industries are still pending with the concerned authorities,” he added.
The KCCI spokesperson further said that the body appreciates the extension order for renewal of fitness and registration papers for transporters till 31st March, 2021.
“But they have to submit the documents online and as you are well aware that internet 4G is not working in Kashmir and on 2G internet speed it’s somehow difficult for them to upload the documents online,” he said.
The KCCI, he said, requests authorities to waiver off all the penalties and the transport sector must be waived off from paying passenger tax, token tax, fitness charges and permit fees for the last seventeen months besides complete compensation of insurance for the last one year.
“It would be pertinent to mention that GST Council and many more issues which KCC&I submitted to J&K Government are referred to by the Centre Government needs to be followed up by concerned departments which we believe are urgent in nature and require immediate consideration,” the KCCI spokesperson said.
“Various other issues were raised by the KCC&I with the State and Central Government being faced by the Industrial and other sectors which needs to be addressed so that the problems faced by the industries and other sectors are taken care off,” he said, while seeking intervention of LG.
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