'Major contracts go to non-local units unabated' | KSSIA warns of closure of local industrial units

Kashmir Small Scale Industrial Association Industrial Estate Baghi Ali Mardan Khan expressed its anguish over the failure of the Jammu and Kashmir government to save the remnants of local industrial units most of which have already culminated in a debt trap and breathed its last due to unprecedented business interruptions and callous attitude of authorities.

According to KSSIA statement, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of President KSSIA Syed Fazal Illahi in which the members warned of a ‘volcanic situation’ ahead where the local entrepreneurs would be forced to close down all their establishments and retrench their labour force.

The statement said that the KSSIA members have accused the government and bureaucracy for such volatile situation that is probably waiting for putting the last nail in the coffin of local industry.

“Even though the Government of India woke up within a month of COVID lockdown to announce various measures for making up the losses of trade and industry, the officials continue to be in deep here despite such a lockdown for almost a year now”, said the members, adding that no concrete proposal for affording any relief to the local enterprises has so far been devised or submitted to any relevant authority here or at the Centre.

“Instead of extending any relief, the local industry is fast being deprived of its due share from the developmental works and ongoing projects resulting in sharp fall in the demand and marketing of their products.”

The members said all major developmental schemes in Jammu and Kashmir are presently being executed by non-local contractors who procure their industrial goods from outside.

“The major schemes of Power Development Department for laying and installation of transmission system has been entrusted to non-locals and now the material like transformers, conductors etc is also being procured from outside enterprises leaving about 200 industrial units in Jammu and Kashmir jobless,” said the KSSIA members in the statement.

“We demand a probe into the decision taken by authorities to procure steeply priced Godrej and Chinese furniture for Panchayat houses and other ordinary departments worth crores, that severely affects the viability of hundreds of local units engaged in this activity,” said the KSSIA members in the statement.

Speaking at the meeting, President KSSIA Fazal Illahi expressed his dismay over what he termed ‘insensitive behavior and callous attitude’ of the authorities which has resulted in the depression of the local enterprise.

He said the government needs to come clean on the revival of distressed industry or else the time may not be far away when the existing entrepreneurs would prefer to take an exit route besides that no prospective entrepreneur would venture in setting up new units in Jammu and Kashmir. Fazal Illahi said huge amount of payment due to the enterprises was withheld by various government departments despite an assurance for its immediate release by Union Finance Minister several months back.

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