After 9 years delay, construction of ITC at Pampore to finally begin
Nine years after the foundation of International Trade Center (ITC) at Sempora here was laid, Jammu and Kashmir's first export facility may now become a reality soon as the Government of India has accepted the DPR of the project and agreed to fund Rs 30 crore for the initial construction of the project.
Aimed to push exports of handicraft and horticulture products from Kashmir, the foundation of International Trade Center was laid in 2005 by then Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Jai Ram Ramesh along with then State Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
But due to the failure of the successive regimes to provide Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the center and get it approved, the project was in limbo for nine years. To be completed in two phases at a cost of Rs 100 crore, JK Government was unable to make a DPR for the project and get it approved from the central government for last nine years.
"Non-seriousness of the bureaucracy and politicians to push the project at various levels marred it, otherwise central government was supposed to fund the entire cost of this ambitious project. It is not a big thing to prepare a DPR and get it cleared, but having will to do so matters," said the officials, who do not want to be named.
In nine years, the only progress on the project was the fencing of the 378 kanals of land acquired for ITC.
Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce, Shalindra Kumar confirmed that center has agreed to fund the project. "Initially to a tune of Rs 30 crore under Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities (ASIDE) will be provided by the central government," he said.
President of Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf Mir said, "Government should start the work on the project at mega scale and finish it as soon as possible, as it has been already delayed. It will boost Kashmir based exports."