SRINAGAR: Kashmir Small Scale Industrial Association (KSSIA) Industrial Estate Baghi Ali Mardan Khan has expressed its anguish over the failure of the government to save the remnants of local industrial units most of which have already culminated in a debt trap and breathed its last due to unprecedented business interruptions and callous attitude of authorities.
According to KSSIA statement, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of President KSSIA Syed Fazal Illahi in which the members warned of a ‘volcanic situation’ ahead of where the local entrepreneurs would be forced to close down all their establishments and retrench their labour force.
The members have put the blame of such volatile situation squarely on the shoulders of the government and bureaucracy that is probably waiting for putting the last nail in the coffin of local industry. “Even though the Government of India woke up within a month of COVID lockdown to announce various measures for making up the losses of trade and industry, the local bureaucrats continue to be in deep here despite such a lockdown for almost a year now”, observed the members, adding that no concrete proposal for affording any relief to the local enterprises has so far been devised or submitted to any relevant authority here or at the Centre.
“Instead of extending any relief, the local industry is fast being deprived of its due share from the developmental works and ongoing projects resulting in sharp fall in the demand and marketing of their products,” the members said.
The members informed that all major developmental schemes in Jammu and Kashmir are presently being executed by nonlocal contractors who procure their industrial goods from outside.
While quoting some examples, the members mentioned that the major schemes of power development department for laying and installation of transmission system has been entrusted to nonlocals and now the material like transformers, conductors etc is also being procured from outside enterprises leaving about 200 industrial units in Jammu and Kashmir jobless.
The members demanded a probe into the decision, taken by authorities to procure steeply-priced Godrej and Chinese furniture for Panchayat houses and other ordinary departments worth Crores of rupees, that severely affected the viability of hundreds of local units engaged in this activity.
Speaking at the meeting, President KSSIA expressed his dismay over the insensitive behavior and callous attitude of the authorities that has resulted in the depression of the local enterprises. He said that the government needs to come clean on the revival of distressed industry or else the time may not be far away when the existing entrepreneurs would prefer to take an exit route besides that no prospective entrepreneur would venture in setting up new units in Jammu and Kashmir.
Syed Fazal Illahi expressed his concern that huge amount of payment due to the enterprises was withheld by various government departments despite an assurance for its immediate release by Union Finance Minister several months back. The president assured the members of formalizing future strategy for saving the dilapidated industry in consultation with other industrial estates of Jammu and Kashmir and their apex organizations.