Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) today responded to the issues raised by its Jammu counterpart, in a press conference held at Hotel Sarovar Portico.
KCCI lead by its president Javeed Tenga aslo sent a letter to the Jammu Chamber, which talked about several issues including the rollback of GST and Toll Tax. Along with the president, Sr. Vice President Nasir Hamid Khan, Jr. Vice President Fayaz Ahmad Punjabi, Secretary General, Gazalla Amin, Jt. Secretary General Muzaffar Majid Jan and Treasurer Sheikh Imran were also present.
In the letter sent to the Jammu Chamber by the KCCI, rollback of GST and Toll Tax were mentioned.
The letter asked the political establishment “to take the views and opinions expressed by stakeholders in proper perspective and respond with seriousness and maturity” while criticising the response of Sat Sharma.
At the occasion, the Jr. Vice President Fayaz Ahmad Punjabi said, “We have had many differences with the Jammu Chamber and at many places we have both agreed to disagree. Regarding issues like Article 35A, the Jammu Chamber was with us earlier, but now they have changed their stance..”
Earlier, president of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Jammu (CCIJ) Rakesh Gupta had called for a day long strike in Jammu against the BJP ministers for not doing enough for the region and being seemingly unaccountable.
It had conveyed the issues to the visiting Home minister Rajnath Singh following which BJP lawmaker Sat Sharma said that “few complaints to the Minister do not matter”.
In response to the “Wake Up Call” by Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Jammu (CCIJ), the Kashmir Chamber’s letter said that the demand of the Jammu Chamber regarding the alleged “unaccountable and insincere” working of the majority of the Hon’ble Ministers and the subsequent demand seeking their removal, is duly endorsed by the Kashmir Chamber and that there was no difference of opinion on the exit of non-performers.
The points raised by the Jammu Chamber and their responses by the Kashmir Chamber have been complied below:
Jammu Chamber had earlier written that the toll tax being charged by the state government on goods since more than two decades on the pretext of safeguarding the industry should be abolished and the industry be incentivised through alternate mechanism as the state revenue has increased multi fold after the implementation of GST as a part of one nation one tax, otherwise the business community will have no option but to charge this component of toll tax from the end consumer for which the state government shall be responsible.
To which the Kashmir chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber is also supportive of the demand for abolition of the Toll Tax. Regarding GST, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is already on record demanding it’s rollback for the reason that it violates and encroaches upon the unique and special position of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian Union. Any law seen as an infringement of guaranteed rights will be opposed with all the strength at our command.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was over the slow pace of acquiring land for AIIMS at Vijaypur sanctioned almost two years back and questions as to why negotiations are being done with few people illegally occupying some portion of sanctioned land and not taking effective steps to evict these illegal occupants.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that they would question the rationale for having two AIIMS in one State. The AIIMS was originally announced for Kashmir, and after the agitation launched by our Jammu brethren over this, an unprecedented creation of two AIIMS was subsequently announced. Reportedly, they would now be somewhat smaller variants rather than a full fledged AIIMS, commonly referred to as mini-AIIMS.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was of a high level enquiry into shelving of artificial lake project on River Tawi on which a some of Rs. 76 crores approximately had already being spent and funded by the Union government.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry joins the Jammu Chamber in questioning the wastage of Rs. 76 Crores on the Artificial Lake Project in Jammu. It appears that big and prestigious projects are launched on political whims without going into the viability and practical aspects for such projects.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was about the way the Master Plan for Jammu has been devised. The Chamber felt that it is just a copy paste work being done by the JDA and the new Master Plan has not taken into consideration the vast commercial expansion that took place over the years and the Chamber demands that the Master Plan be relooked and modifications be done as per ground realities and requirements.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the concerns of the Jammu Chamber regarding the formulation of the Jammu Master Plan and would re-iterate it’s demand that the respective chambers of the State be given due representation on the Board of the Development Authorities.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was about the state power minister that even after spending thousands of crores on rebuilding and redesigning the power infrastructure in the state why the unscheduled power cuts have not yet been stopped and the T&D losses reduced. Chamber demands high level enquiry by the Union Power Minister to enquire into the whole gamut.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry extends full support to the Jammu Chamber in questioning the wastage of thousands of crores by the Government on the infrastructure for Power. With one of the highest Transmission & Distribution Losses in the world, the State needs a serious relook at the system.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was about the intentions of the Industry Minister as to why the notification for continuing the incentives to the Industry has not been issued even after the implementation of GST in the state on July , 8 the Chamber President also expresses dissatisfaction that the state industry minister could neither project not present the plight of the industry and the working conditions in our state to get incentives on the pattern of proposed incentive package to the North Eastern State as J&K state can in no way be equated with Punjab or Himachal Pardesh.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the demand seeking issuance of notification regarding continuation of incentives to industries in the State as also the failure of the State to properly present our case for getting incentives on the lines of the proposed package for North Eastern States.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was about the announcement of 23 September as a state holiday which is the birth anniversary of Late Sh. Maharaja Hari Singh as a mark of respect to the great ruler who not only protected the state on every aspect but also to thank his soul for the vision he had to join the great country i.e India.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes the demand for a State Holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh. The Kashmir Chamber feels that the State has already notified 24 days as holidays and there is a need for reviewing and reducing the existing list of holidays. Keeping in view the Durbar Move and other holidays, we are left with very few working days.
The next point raised by the Jammu Chamber was about the immediate deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu to outside the state as the Chamber feels that neither these illegal intruders come under the definition of Refugees nor the UNHRC cards have any validity in the state of J&K. The Chamber further warns any voices in our state who speak on behalf of Rohingyas to desist from making any statement which are contrary to the basic constitution of J&K.
To which the Kashmir Chamber responded by saying that rather than going into constitutional aspects, the Jammu Chamber needs to focus on the humanitarian aspect of the problem and that he state should intervene in providing of relief and shelter to the Rohingyas refugees. Humanitarianism is one of the fundamental principles of the all religions which considers both humanitarian actions and the duty to help as religious obligations by which all humans, rich and poor, are bound. Human principals dictate that help given to a refugee is no more than his right, irrespective of whichever faith he may belong to. At the same time, we also hail the spirit of the people of Jammu who have always come forward with open arms in such times of crisis and provided all assistance and relief to the persecuted.