Once a profitable venture, Jammu and Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, here, is facing huge financial crisis. The employees of the emporium are without salary for last 5 months.
The aggrieved employees said: "We are without salaries for last five months. We fail to understand why are we being targeted and virtually starved to death as we are not able to pay for food and education of our children."
"Some of our colleagues are not even able to afford medicine for their families. If this situation continues we will be forced to committee suicide," they threatened.
While accusing the management of being insensitive toward the suffering of the employees, they said: "The management is not releasing our due salaries. We are facing plethora of problems as we have borrowed money which we find difficult to repay."
However, according to sources the undertaking has no funds to clear the pending salaries. "The sales in its showrooms have dropped sharply creating a cash crunch in the undertaking," they said.
"Despite the emporium having its showrooms at some prime locations across the country, the sales have declined considerably with authorities apprehending large scale pilferage by unscrupulous employees as the main reason for the current situation" they said.
A senior official of the emporium stated that the employees need to gear for the challenge to improve revenue realization. "You cannot have the cake and eat it too; the failure of our employees to generate revenue has resulted in the situation that the emporium has no funds to pay their salaries."
"It is an irony that private arts showrooms in the vicinity where we have our showrooms, are making huge profits, but our sales are declining day by day," he added.
Managing Director, Jammu and Kashmir Handicraft Corporation, Muhammad Ishtiyak Drabu told Greater Kashmir that that the emporium is getting meagre amount as budgetary support from the government.
"Our major revenue generation comes from the sales in the showroom. Once we earn, we allocate funds for salary of the employees. But currently we are facing recession and sales have come down drastically which is the main reason the salary of employees has not been paid so far," he said, adding that the corporation gets only Rs 43 lakh as budgetary support per annum while its salary bills account to around Rs 50 lakh per month.
"There is no budgetary provision from where we can provide salary to the employees unless we generate revenue," he added.