SRINAGAR: The Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has called for immediate intervention by the UT government in resolving issues between J&K Bank and MSMEs, in order to put a stop to the maligning campaign launched by the former against non-performing assets (NPAs) without giving them a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
The demand was made in a marathon meeting between the FCIK Advisory Committee and Presidents of organized industrial estates, held at FCIK headquarters under the chairmanship of M.D. Qureshi, which was attended by Presidents of industrial estates including Lassipora, Khunmoh, Rangreth, Zainakote, Sanat Nagar, BAMK, Zakura, Anchidora Anantnag, Vessu, Ganderbal, Gagran Shopian, Shalteng, Sopore, Baramullah, Kupwara, besides other members of the Advisory Committee.
The Presidents of various industrial estates presented a detailed account of continued financial stress currently prevalent in MSMEs owing to a number of reasons which, among other difficulties, has also led to growing NPAs. They said that the unilateral withdrawal of marketing support to MSMEs committed under the industrial policy of 2016-26, coupled with long spells of business interruptions during re-organisation and Covid restrictions, had been the main reason for this financial stress. Further withholding or delaying of payments on account of supply of material and execution of works to government departments and PSUs had contributed to the stressfulness of hundreds of enterprises.
The meeting regretted that, contrary to acknowledgment of such difficulties, the bank has launched an unwarranted and undesired campaign of maligning and tarnishing the public image of entrepreneurs, adding that such tactics were detrimental not only to the cause of industrial growth and promotion but also to the cordial relations of J&K Bank with local MSMEs.
The meeting underscored the role of the UT government as mediator between J&K Bank and MSMEs in order to identify an acceptable solution to the issue for the benefit of both parties. The members made it clear that all MSMEs were willing to repay their loans to the bank on the launch of a uniform, non-discriminatory restructuring and OTS schemes with a reasonable timeline. The members reminded that the harsh provisions of SARFAESI Act in the UT required some dilution and relief for the reason that the enterprises here were working under most unconducive and disturbed conditions, unlike their counterparts in the rest of the country. The meeting expected the UT government to step in for the sake of reposing faith and confidence of entrepreneurs on their promoters and use its influence as majority shareholders to shape the desired restructuring/OTS schemes. The government also needed to link these schemes with the rehabilitation of sick industrial units under an existent revival and rehabilitation scheme.
Earlier, the President of Industrial Growth Centre Lassipora, Haji Muzaffar, presented a detailed account of the recent visit of MD and other top officials of J&K Bank and informed about their willingness to facilitate NPAs with a suitable OTS scheme besides enhancing access to credit for prospective and existing industrial units. Muzaffar said that during the extensive visit to various industrial units, the MD and his team had a complete idea and expressed satisfaction on the working of manufacturing units from grassroots.
The Advisory Committee, while endorsing the views and suggestions of its constituents, assured the meeting to put in their efforts for holding separate and joint meetings with bank authorities and government to find a lasting solution to all bank issues. The constituents vowed their full support to FCIK Advisory Committee in all its steps and programs which they deem necessary in the process of obtaining relief to the industrial units in distress.