Investment welcome but not at cost of local industries: Kashmir Inc.
Srinagar, Nov 26: Amid
reports of multinationals making beeline to invest in Jammu and Kashmir,
business community has cautioned the Union Territory government against
promoting non-local industries at the cost of local companies.
At least 40 multinational companies including Lulu Group,
Shree Cements and Singapore Electric Vehicles have shown interest in setting up
units in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.
President, Federation Chamber of Industries of Kashmir
(FCIK) Mohammad Ashraf Mir told The Kashmir Monitor that the government should
first “strive to make conducive atmosphere in Kashmir for the industrial
“These investors were never ever barred from investing in
Kashmir. The provision of leasing out land for 90 years was applicable for
non-locals like any other local investor. But till now they didn’t show any
interest in investing here,” he said.
Mir said local investors required to be encouraged equally
to ensure growth of the economy.
“The government should find Ambanis and Birlas in us. They
should give local entrepreneurs a chance to invest. I need 365 days of work but
question again arises whether the situation is conducive here for that or not?”
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI),
President, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said they encourage foreign investment but
suggested that the government should take measures to develop existing business
sector of J&K.
“Currently all the sectors are bleeding and there is not a
single sector that hasn’t suffered during the last three months. We are not
against progress and development but government should consider deteriorating
industrial sector of Kashmir too,” he said.
“We had a very bad experience with the outside state based
investors who took all the taxation benefits and at the end closed their
units. We are ready for the foreign
investment. KCCI will take a lead role so that real investment happens in the
valley,” Ahmad added.
The KCCI president urged the government to consider the
environment aspect while giving clearance to the investors, given the fact that
50 to 60 per cent of land in Kashmir comprises of forests.
“Our environment is too fragile and supports only Micro
Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). Chamber will encourage coming up of
eco-friendly industries,” he said.
President, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI)
Rakesh Gupta said the government should announce a financial package for
existing industries of the UT too.
“The investment can happen only when government announces a
big package for both old and new industries. If they consider only new ones
then existing industries will get closed,” he said.