Kashmir Inc demands transfer of power projects to JK

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry today demanded transfer of central sector power projects in J&K to the state.
The chamber said the government should also review its agreements with NHPC so as to incorporate conditions with regard to transfer of new projects to J&K.
At a pre-budget meeting with finance minister here today the chamber said J&K was facing huge financial losses on account of restrictions imposed by Indus Water Treaty. It said in line with the Rangarajan Committee recommendations, “the chamber has since long been pleading for transfer of all power projects in the central sector in J&K to the state.”
“The state government needs to effectively take up the issue with the centre so that our economy could benefit by proper utilization of our natural resources.”
Vice President, Abdul Hamid Punjabi headed the chamber delegation with former president KCCI, Rauf Ahmad Punjabi forming its part.
The delegation, according to a chamber statement, presented a memorandum to the minister raising issues pertaining to different sectors of economy.
The chamber pleaded that the expenditure on account of import of power could be drastically cut down by the transfer of power projects.

Excerpts of the memorandum submitted by the chamber:
* ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL:
It is suggested that monthly meetings be convened in which Chairman J&K Bank, Regional Managers, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India as well as Economic Advisors and Presidents of two Chambers viz. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with Chief Secretary, Commissioner/Secretary, Finance Department, Commissioner/Secretary, Industries Department shall form a core group to intervene wherever needed to address economic problems being faced by the business community.

* REVIVAL OF SICK UNITS:
With regard to Units which became sick due to disturbed conditions in the State, the financing pattern of the re-structuring/rehabilitation packages may include 70 per cent as loan component from Banks, 20 per cent would be the interest free margin money from the Government and balance 10 per cent would be promoter’s own contribution. Rs 100 Crore fund has been recommended for this purpose by the Prime Minister’s Task Force. The Scheme has not been implemented so far and the same needs to be expedited.

* SINGLE TOLL PLAZA
The dual checking of goods being imported into the Valley has become a source of harassment for the trading community of Kashmir. This system of having a check point at Lakhanpur which is 400 kms away from the Capital City is unique to Kashmir and is a major impediment in the free movement of Goods. Toll plaza at Lower Munda is  functioning but the goods bound for Srinagar from outside the State are checked at Lakhanpore and thereafter again at Lowe Munda Toll post. This practice should be done away with, instead goods coming to Valley should be put to check at only Lower Munda.

* STAMP DUTY:
There is a need to reduce the very high stamp duty for better compliance and revenue. It should be not more than 6% as existing in Delhi and 3% in rural areas.
By such act people will get attracted to the maximum value to the extent of actual value of the transactions, hence better revenue for the State at lower rates.

* UTILIZATION OF FUNDS:
The lapsing of funds on account of non-utilization within the financial year has been taxing not only business community but also general public particularly the Valley. This problem is not only prevalent in the development works done under Central Government Schemes but also schemes done in State Budget.

* DISINVESTMENT:
The State Government needs to follow the example of the Central Government to privatise various commercial undertakings. Most of the Government owned Corporations are running into losses. This step would open up avenues for the local entrepreneurs to take over these units in order to exploit the true potential of these. There are number of units presently owned by the State Government like JKI, JK Minerals, J&K Forest Corporation, SRTC, Handloom Development Corporation, J&K Handicrafts (S&E) Corporation etc,  which need to be privatized and could be one of the important resource for generating revenue for the State.

* LOC TRADE
The trading activity across the line of control started in October, 2008 and the total exports have reached during 2010-2011(ending 31-01-2011) to Rs.198.9835 Crores and the imports during this very period to Rs.197.2604 Crores. The infrastructure has not been developed since the inception of the LOC trade and the same is quite inadequate in order to accommodate the present level of LOC trade activities. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry requests that immediate steps to create adequate infrastructure for this trade in the form of godowns and terminals at the place may kindly be taken so that the goods exported/imported are saved from any damages in absence of these facilities.

Source – Mecca Time

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SUMIT KUMAR

Executive at India Electron Exchange

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