KCCI takes up business issues with ACS Bhardwaj


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Srinagar, July 19: A delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Inc) led by its President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmed held an interactive meeting with Vivek Bhardwaj, Additional Chief Secretary Industries and Commerce, Jammu & Kashmir today at Civil Secretariat ,Srinagar.

The delegation highlighted the following issues related to the business community and the same were discussed in detail.

AIR CONNECTIVITY:

Direct Flight from Srinagar International Airport to Sharjah/ Dubai. “As we appreciate the step for operating direct flights from Srinagar International Airport to Sharjah/ Dubai. But due to unknown reasons the service was stopped. We request your goodself to kindly look into the matter and restore this flight at least once a week. We feel that Sharjah/Dubai is an important hub for business sector from J&K .”

Direct Flight from Srinagar International Airport to Jeddah for Umrah and Hajj Pilgrims of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

We would like to draw your kind attention that the number of Umrah pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from J&K is increasing day by day. The Umrah Groups are conducted by various tour operators who arrange their travel through various Airlines. These airlines operate via Delhi which is reported, does not suit the pilgrims because it adds to the travelling time and also becomes more often inconvenient for them to change the aircraft. The pilgrims would however feel it more convenient to fly from Srinagar to Jeddah directly.

HANDICRAFTS:

Piyesh Goyal, Minister for Textiles, Industries & Commerce on his visit to Srinagar on 18 October, 2021 announced setting up of Carpet Village as a demonstration centre of the local craft to visiting tourists and also promote the local Carpet Industry globally. We request your goodself to direct the concerned officials for immediate implementation of this announcement. This Carpet Village should be installed with all Common Facility Centers wherein Design Development, Dying, Washing, Bank Facilities, Packing. To promote this Carpet Village wherein Carpet Manufacturers/ Exporters will come out with the new innovations and designs to cater the International Market.

Exporters are facing lot of challenges and difficulties as regard to exports from Kashmir region is concerned. As we are at the fag end of India without logistic support as still we have no dry port with the result export goods reach Delhi with higher fare rates resulting losing the competition at international level. So freight subsidies be given to exporters from Jammu & Kashmir as they can't compete.

With others who are close to ports. Kashmir has a geographical disadvantage in logistics in respect of road transport. In order to increase export and make our products competitive in the international market, there is need to subsidize freight both air and road.

State and Centre Government must come up with the attractive schemes so that our entrepreneurs / new educated / unemployed youth will attract towards this Export Industry.

All handmade items should be exempted from taxes like GST. To preserve the livelihood of Weavers, Artisans, Traders, and Exporters who are involved in handmade Handicraft and also the famous art of Cottage Industry, the GST must be waived off on Pashmina Shawls, Carpets, Papier Machie, Crewel, Chain Stitch and Wood Carving.

INDUSTRIES SECTOR:

The time was given for the Permanent Registration of Units is 30th June, 2022. It is requested to extend the time till 31st March, 2023 keeping in view the situation and condition what was happening since past. Who so ever has started construction should get extension for permanent registration

Providing of Working Capital at concessional interest rates, waiver of interest for the period of lockdown, reschedulement of repayment plans, lowering of power tariff and waiver/reduction of fixed demand charges, reduction of rental charges payable to SICOP/SIDCO are urgently required to provide sustenance to the local industries.

BANKING & FINANCE:

The overall losses incurred over the years have resulted in an unprecedented level of stress on the working capital and finances of the local business establishments. Though there have been several interventions by the Government for extending support but the continuous cycle of disruptions has failed their objectives. Incase of OTS which was announced by J&K Bank for 15 to 5 crore and Karz Mukht Scheme which was widely appreciated by KCCI and all other business organisations with the result bank got more than 50 crores and we have requested that the offer should be given from 5 crore to 30-50 crores / MSME so that the account holders can settle the amount and revive businesses.

HOTELS/GUEST HOUSES:

Land lease needs to be extended at Pahalgam and Gulmarg as the owners have suffered huge losses due to unavoidable circumstances. This sector has faced huge expenditure on account of taxes and fee being charged at higher Commercial rates as in Water Charges, Interest in loans, Sanitation Fee, Electricity Charges Licence Fee, Rent, staff salary. In the absence of any business especially in the Tourism sector it is suggested that all the taxes and rates payable to the government may be waived off, reduced or deferred as the Committee may deem appropriate.

TOURIST TAXI OPERATORS:

Bank Loan upto Rs. 3.00 lacs be waived off. New Commercial Taxi permits to be issued in favour of tour operators and taxi operators. Hiring / entanglement of local transport services for official and Departmental use. Creation of designated taxi stands at important health installations like hospitals and nursing homes.

HOUSEBOAT/SHIKARAS:

Appropriate rehabilitation scheme for house boat owners willing to surrender their licenses and already who have submitted their licenses are still under process need to rehabilitate on priority basis.

GENERAL TRADE:

Due to the thirteen months of a continuous lockdown and for reasons elaborated upon by us in our earlier communications the current situation of our business community is critical and there the need for amending of various guidelines and deadlines with regard to filing of taxation returns and submission of taxes.

The situation is such which may not have been envisaged in the general guidelines of the GST policy, Company Affairs, CBDT and the RBI. As a result there is an imminent build-up of penalties along with interest chargeable on the dealers who have, in many cases, lost their capacity to even pay the principal tax amounts. This is a cause of concern for all of us and there is huge stress on the business community.

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