Business community threatens to hit roads

Greater Kashmir

Demands announcement of package for flood victims

Srinagar, Jan 17: Agitated over the delay in release of rehabilitation package to the flood-affected, the Kashmir-based business community Saturday warned Governor NN Vohra of hitting roads and organizing massive protests if their demands are not met.
“We categorically told the Governor during our meeting that if rehabilitation of flood-hit people is not expedited we will have no option other than to come on roads and protest against the government,” said President, Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf Mir.
“We discussed unfortunate politicization of relief funds which is to be allocated to the state. Our complaint was that Prime Minister has bypassed state government for political gains. If state administration is so incompetent and corrupt why the central government doesn’t take action against the officials and why are people in Kashmir suffering due to petty politics,” Mir said.
The business leaders of Kashmir met the Governor at SKICC here.
“It is irony that post-floods there were no concrete steps taken by government to mitigate suffering of the people. Giving Rs 3,800 for partially damaged structure and Rs 75,000 for fully damaged houses is a shame,” Mir said, adding that Governor was also informed by the business fraternity that economy in Kashmir is in doldrums and government intervention is must to get it out of trouble.
“We also informed Vohra about measures taken by Uttarakhand government post–disaster there. In 15 days, government conducted loss assessments there, but in JK loss assessment by the administration is yet to start even though nearly 6 months have passed post floods,” he said.
During the meeting issue of delay in release of Plan funds by centre to Jammu and Kashmir was also taken up, on which the Governor assured the business community of personal intervention.
“We took up the issue of Plan fund delay which would mean that in March most of our funds would get lapsed. So we urged Governor of pitching for non-lapsable funds keeping in consideration current scenario,” Mir said.
Premier business organizations of the Valley were invited to participate in the interaction.
Kashmir faced one of worst floods in its history in September 2014, causing damage of Rs 1 lakh crore to the state.
Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan told Greater Kashmir that they took up the issues being confronted by the common people as well as business community due to “slack approach of administration”.
“We presented factual position before the Governor and informed him about our concerns which have piled up due to failure of administration post-floods,” Khan said adding that all the participants in the meeting unequivocally pressed for release of Rs 44,000 crore package submitted by state government to centre.
“To this, Governor assured of taking up the matter with the centre and finance ministry,” he said adding that the non-cooperative approach of banks operating in the state was also brought into the notice of the Governor.
Senior Vice-president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, who was part of the visiting delegation, said they demanded ex-gratia relief for reconstruction of fully or partially damaged houses, regular power supply and remission of electricity charges for at least six months, grant of income tax holiday and measures for recovery of tourism.