The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCC&I) and Jammu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) Tuesday jointly held a press conference at the KCC&I headquarters in Srinagar, demanding the return of power projects.
President KCC&I Chairman, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said that the chamber has been demanding the return of power projects since 2000, when the then chairman Dr Mubeen Ahmad Shah met then Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh. “We held a number of meetings with Manmohan Singh for the return of power projects, Wani said. “Rangarajan committee, which JK’s present FinMin was a part of, also has recommended the same.” He said the chamber raised the demand of return of power project with interlocutors—tasked to do “fact finding” on Kashmir after 2010. “They recommended the Centre to increase the power share to state government from 12.5 to 50 percent, but sadly the recommendations were never implemented.”
Rakesh Gupta, President JCCI, said that he fails to understand if the agreement of the power projects is over, then why NHPC is still holding the charge of these power projects. “The NHPC is running the projects on adhoc basis as the agreement for running the power projects is over.”
He said that the JKSPDC is capable of running the power projects.
Gupta demanded that J&K should be developed as a free economic zone.
The Chambers also warned the commercial taxes department to stop harassing traders besides stop entering the premises of “honest tax-paying business people.
“If the CTD doesn’t stop harassing the business community, we shall call for financial indiscipline and government will be responsible for the outcome,” said the presidents of both the Chambers.
The Chambers also requested the Chief Minister and Finance Minister to announce amnesty pertaining to Pre VAT period.
Both the chambers demanded that the central government should take steps to declare the whole J&K as a free economic zone so that the business community of Kashmir will be able to trade with all the countries in central Asia, China, Russia, Iran etc and for once take advantage of the states’ geography.
Responding to a question on the ramifications of making Kashmir a FEZ, Gupta said that there is nothing wrong in exploring the options. “If, government finds it feasible, it should without any delay make J&K a free economic zone.”
The chambers also demanded that LOC trade should be held on a negative list of not more than fifty items and not a positive list of 21 items which is now the case now.
“This step will ensure free trade and not a restricted trade and advantage should come to J&K on both sides than to any other state as we have been the sufferers economically from 1947,” said Wani.
The Traders’ bodies also asked the government to issue and implement government order of treating tourism including hotels as industry and provide all the incentives available to industries in the state.