SRINAGAR: Jammu will be on a day-long protest on September 22, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) announced on Saturday.
Though the immediate trigger is the opening of 50 Reliance Smart Points in Jammu (excluding three in Kashmir), the protest is apparently the accumulation of issues that the Jammu trade is facing.
Addressing a news conference Arun Gupta, the JCCI president said the trade-in Jammu is being compromised to a level never seen before. The interventions by the government will force hunger over thousands of families whose trades are impacted by a series of decisions in last more than one year. Gupta threatened an agitation if the corrective measures were not immediately initiated.
They also had a symbolic protest in which the trade leaders looking visibly angry and furious. “This all is a conspiracy against Jammu,” one leader told reporters. “Why do not they give poison to small traders, once for all.”
In the press conference, Gupta highlight a series of issues started from the leasing of mining rights to the tune of 60 per cent to outsiders. He said the intervention in the liquor business has created serious problems for the families making a living from bars for generations and now they have to get their licences renewed every year, something that happens only in Jammu. He said the renewal of the licence requires NOCs from 20 departments.
“Government says that it saves 200 crores by stopping durbar move but it also barred the investment of over 1000 crores which people of Kashmir do in Jammu during the six months stay. It also barred cultural exchange, which is mandatory for society to grow and develop.” said the Chamber president.
Gupta said that in 1988 when Dr Farooq Abdullah government decided against the durbar move, Jammu was closed for 23 days and it was supported by the BJP.
When normal life is running, the banquet halls have been asked to restrict guests to 25 people. “In a 40-Kanal estate, 25 people are permitted and how can it happen?” he asked.
Insisting that Jammu is deliberately being discriminated against, Gupta said of 300 members of parliament who visited Kashmir, only two could see them in informal capacity in Jammu.
Another leader of the chamber told reporters that there is a big conspiracy against the Jammu trade. “We wanted a debate but they are fleeing from a debate,” the leader said. “When there is notable for a talk, people come to the road that is what we are doing.” They insisted that the strike shall remain peaceful.
The trade leaders said the undoing of the Jammu business had started much earlier. “When Wal-Mart came to Jammu, we were told that it has a b2b licence but soon it was a given a b2c permission,” one leader said. “This has impacted hundreds and now a major company like Reliance is coming to Jammu to usurp the marginal traders.”