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 sector”.
“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?” he asked.
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.