Kashmir traders threaten agitation if JK allows FDI
‘CM least bothered about traders, retailers’
KCCI holds different view
Srinagar, Sep 16: Day after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed centre’s decision on Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail sector, the Valley-based business community today accused him of trying to be more loyal than the king.
“While majority of the state governments are against the decision, chief minister Omar Abdullah has shown much alacrity to welcome it,” the traders said.
Curiously, the Kashmir Economic Alliance – an amalgam of traders, transporters hoteliers, etc. today threatened massive agitation “if state government allows FDI in retail sector in the J&K.”
The KEA said the CM “lacked” vision and was always trying to “please his bosses at the centre”.
“Even metropolitan cities and big states in the country with vast resources and investments are opposing the FDI in retail sector. It seems that the CM tries to show his loyalty towards centre government in order to save his chair,” Muhammad Yaseen Khan, President KEA, said, adding that the CM was least bothered about the traders and retailers.
Khan said the FDI in retail will prove “catastrophic” for retailers, small traders.
To mention Omar Abdullah Saturday wrote on microblogging site Twitter: "I'm glad the government has announced FDI in retail and left to states to decide."
"Why should (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata (Banerjee) or (UP Chief Minister) Akhilesh Yadav decide what is bad or good for J&K?” Omar had posted.
"I'm amazed that the defenders of federalism want to decide what is good for my state only because they have more MPs and can shout louder," the CM had wrote.
The business community apprehends that foreign investments will not only “eat up” small traders and retailers, it will also prevent prospective indigenous small investors to invest in retail sector.
Interestingly, Omar’s welcoming the FDI in retail sector has surprised many financial pundits here.
“In context of Jammu and Kashmir where unemployment graph is showing upward trend and government has been advising educated youths to start up their own ventures, allowing FDI won’t be a good decision,” experts said.
“FDI in the context of J&K would be bad decision. It will affect the huge retail segment and hinder investments by locals,” Tariq Rashid, Joint Secretary, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir (CCIK) said.
“New policy, which opens the doors to the likes of Wal-Mart will wipe out the small, family-run neighborhood stores and trigger mass unemployment,” Ajaz Ahmad, a local trader said.
However, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a different take on the issue. “It will provide opportunities to local business community to learn from these foreign investors,” said Abdul Hamid Punjabi, president KCCI.
Interestingly, after holding back decision of allowing FDI in retail sector in December in the wake of stiff opposition from all quarters, Centre government Friday allowed its retail sector to foreign supermarkets.
However, the Centre government has asked individual state governments to decide whether to allow foreign supermarket chains to enter.
Foreign retailers will only be allowed to set up shop in cities with a population of more than 1 million.
Pertinently Kashmir can have such shop as according to the census of 2011, the summer capital has more than 1 million population.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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