FCIK laments Govt's silence on J&K Bank excesses

Entrepreneurs to hold symbolic protest in IEs on Saturday
Representational Image
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Srinagar: Accusing the government of watching the harassment and intimidation of entrepreneurs by J&K Bank as mute spectators, the Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has regretted the deafening silence of the government over the excesses and has decided to observe a symbolic one-hour peaceful protest inside industrial estates across Kashmir valley on Saturday.

A statement of FCIK said that in a marathon meeting under the chairmanship of the senior most member of FCIK Ghulam Muhammad Tramboo which, among others, was participated by the presidents and members from industrial associations of Lassipora, Khunmoh, Anchidora, Anantnag, Baghi Ali Mardan Khan, Rangreth, Sanat Nagar, Shalteng, Zainakote, Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Zakura, Silk Park Zakura, Vessu Qazigund, Gagren, Shopian, Pulwama, Bijbehara, Wuyan besides from unorganised sector in all 10 districts of Kashmir, the issue of J&K Bank excesses was discussed threadbare for seeking the government intervention in the matter.

“The members unanimously rejected the contention that the government of J&K had no role in the matter and that the bank was free to follow its SOPs under draconian SARFEASI Act after completely putting a blind eye to immense sufferings and perpetual losses of the entrepreneurs in the wake of turbulent conditions and natural calamities over more than three decades,” the statement said.

Reminding the government of its own policy for revival and rehabilitation of sick industry under Government order 47-Ind of 1999 later subsumed in all subsequent industrial policies, the members regretted that the situation would not have reached the present imbroglio had the government seriously acted upon the policy.

“The Government of India while acknowledging the importance of such revival and rehabilitation of sick industry and on the recommendations of PM’s Task Force on MSMEs had approved 100 crores for a corpus to facilitate the then state government in the year 2009”, informed the members adding that FCIK President was one of the members of said Task Force.

The members regretted that the lackadaisical approach of the successive governments coupled with changes made in industrial policies intermittently had left the entrepreneurs in the lurch and contributed only to the continued increase in distress and sickness.

The members regretted that the government had left the local enterprises dependent on government orders workless after it decided to procure goods from the GeM portal ignoring the fact that the local enterprises had no muscularity to compete with their counterparts from developed states for obvious reasons.

“Besides a large chunk of money withheld for long durations by departments on account of supplies and services made by MSMEs had fast-paced their sickness,” said the members, adding that the available mechanism to deal with the issue of delayed payments with no positive results had lost its efficacy.

“Whereas the banks were under an obligation from Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, GOI and the RBI to find out reasons for the failure of entrepreneurs before initiating any harsh action against them, the J&K Bank had flouted all such directions” regretted the members adding that merely after two days of the statement of Union Finance Minister on the floor of House for dealing these matters with humanity and sensitivity in mind, J&K Bank dislodged a 95-year old lady along with other members of the family because the account of the borrower had been downgraded as NPA only 5 months back.

“The bank broke its own record when it took possession of an industrial unit in IGC Lassipora within 2 months of downgrading of its account” which the members termed to be unacceptable to the industrial fraternity.

While condemning the excess by the bank, the members observed that the UT government cannot remain a spectator to the continued onslaught of J&K Bank more so by virtue of its capacity as the largest shareholder of the bank having a full hold on the board.

“Unfortunately, the majority of the board members were not privy to the ground realities that existed when J&K Bank, under the garb of monopoly would force entrepreneurs to mortgage their ancestral residential houses and property for obtaining a business loan” observed members adding but the government knew the facts and cannot shy away of its intervention.

The FCIK solicited immediate intervention in stopping the undesired drive by J&K Bank and discuss the issue on the table for a viable resolution. It was unanimously decided in the meeting that valley-based entrepreneurs shall observe a symbolic peaceful protest for one hour inside all industrial estates of Kashmir valley on Saturday with the aim to condemn J&K Bank excesses, show solidarity with the affected entrepreneurs and wake up the concerned government authorities from their slumber, the FCIK statement said.

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