Kashmir Traders’ Bodies Lambast Mufti Govt, Call it ‘Anti-Business, Anti-State’

Muhammad Raafi

SRINAGAR

It is for the first time the Business organisations of Kashmir have boycotted the pre-budget deliberations being held by the state government and led by Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu.

While terming it a black day, the Business organisations of the valley Monday slammed the Mufti-led coalition government for its “anti-state, anti-business” policies.

Addressing a Press Conference here, the traders bodies, including The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir (FCIK), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEI), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Federation (KHARF), Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), House Boat Owners Association (HBOA), Transport Associations and Fruit Growers Association unanimously declared that they will boycott the Budget and pre budget deliberations with the Finance Minister.

Accusing the government for its failure to take post-floods steps to raise the business sentiments, Muhammad Yasin Khan, Chairman KEA said that the state government has failed to convince the union government to sanction appropriate amount of flood package – even when Mufti Sayeed justified the “unholy alliance” for getting a generous package and liberal funding.

“All such hopes have been belied,” Khan said. “The experience with the present government has been very disturbing and discouraging.”

Khan said a reign of terror has been unleashed through the raids conducted by commercial taxes department, labour department, and income tax department to harass the business community.

“They extort undue tax from business people. Although government has received 26% higher tax revenue than the previous year during the corresponding period,” he said.

Aafaq Qadiri, President FCIK, said that the tourism, transport, industrial and handicrafts sectors continue to bleed due to the wrong policies and priorities of the government.

While taking a dig at Mufti government, he said the industrial sector has seen a significant fall in production post floods. “The plight has worsened due to non-payment of bills by the government departments, non-implementation of rehabilitation package and short supply of power, multiplied by unscheduled power cuts, resulting in share decline in production.”

“For the first time in the history of Kashmir the industrial estates have been directed to snap the electricity supply to unit holders after 5 pm. This is ridiculous and nonsense.”

Javaid Burza of Kashmir Hotels and Restaurants Association said that the tourism sector is suffering huge losses due to the wrong policies of the government regarding the promotional activities, the neglect of huge existing infrastructure, projecting deceitful tourist arrival figures, favouring a group of vested interests to put up and expand high end hotels ignoring environmental concerns and carrying capacity of tourist destinations.

“A mind blowing 500 crore have been spent during the past ten years for the development of new tourist destinations through development authorities but hardly one or two are operational,” he said

The traders bodies while demanding a high level inquiry and audit in the working, funding and expenditure of the tourism department said that the “fudging tourist arrival figures” require a high level independent enquiry.

Muhammad Sadiq Baqal said that the recently formed tourism advisory board has been set up to loot the state. He claimed that it has been formed to sanction land to outsiders and loot our resources.

“The board has only 6 local members while the rest are from outside,” he said. “They want to give outsiders land to establish their hotels and units in the state. This government has failed on all fronts and they have no moral authority to cling to the chair now.”

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