Srinagar January 8: The executive body of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad called upon the Chairman & CEO J&K Bank Parvez Ahmed here at the Bank’s Corporate Headquarters today.
President KCCI outlined the calendar of activities of the Chamber for the promotion of tourism industry, starting with a Mega Show in Malaysia; promotional activities in collaboration with FICCI, ICCI, Export Promotion Council etc for promotion of handicrafts and other Kashmir art with the aim to bring tourism and handicraft industry of the state on growth trajectory.
The KCCI he added was also planning to participate in India Trade Expo, ASEAN Buyer Seller Meet and Dilli Haat Exhibition in the month of February.
The delegation requested the Chairman for setting up of a Joint Advisory Committee comprising members from the bank & Industry to brainstorm on the progress & challenges in the sectors besides deliberating on the resolution of stressed assets of the bank in these sectors.
The President KCCI assured the Chairman that the Chamber would play an active role in resolution of such cases. Seeking Bank’s support he said that KCCI was coming up with a new Chamber House at Rajbagh and expected support from J&K Bank in its development.
The Chairman after hearing the delegation, appreciated the initiatives of the Chamber and said, “Bank has undertaken a strategic Shift in its lending operations which has been directed to the productive sectors of the state economy to revive growth in the core sectors of horticulture, tourism & handicrafts besides nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state. The Bank is proactively working on enabling economic activity in J&K through capacity building interventions and improved outreach within the state. A total of Rs 12000 Cr of net credit has been added in the J&K state business over the last two years. Despite the evident stress in some of the sectors the bank has adopted the handholding approach for the business community and the assurance of the KCCI president to play an active role in resolution of some of the stressed assets is a welcome reciprocation”
“The Bank is very keen to replicate the successful model of Apple Project, wherein the Bank proactively collaborated with the apple growers, in the handicrafts sector for reviving the growth. Worthwhile to mention that the artisan who is the most important entity in the handicraft industry is empowered as was the focus of the Bank in case of Apple Project to empower the grower. Let us strengthen artisan by enabling him to innovate in line with the changing tastes of the global consumers besides preserving the heritage design. Thorough research was required to ensure development of the handicraft industry on modern lines” he added.
The Chairman also conveyed to KCCI to come up with a plan with regard to the development of village clusters in respect of handicrafts for better and directed interventions. This he said will also help in creating a conducive ambience for the artisans to work so that they can produce world class products.
During the meeting it was decided to constitute a Joint Advisory Committee Bank’s Executive President P K Tikoo, Presidents Mohammad Maqbool Lone and Arun Gandotra were nominated as representatives from the Bank while as KCCI nominated its Senior Vice President Nasir Hamid Khan, Secretary General Farooq Amin and Joint Secretary General Sheikh Gowhar Ali.
Meanwhile, president KCCI said that a proposal with regard to revival of carpet industry had already been submitted to the bank especially with Sumbal/Sonawari area in focus where there was a large number of active weavers.
The Chairman instructed the President Credit to look into the matter. Earlier during deliberations the Chairman also suggested the Chamber to encourage businesses to get them rated from the rating agencies for the larger benefit of their businesses.
On the demand of the chamber, the Chairman also directed for exploring option for creation of a new hassle free customized credit product for Tour & Travel industry and launch the product expeditiously. The meeting concluded by vote of thanks presented by Senior Vice President KCCI Nasir Hamid Khan.
No decision yet on resumption of Cross LOC trade
Govt working on installing truck scanners on trade routes
Srinagar, May 18: Though they are unlikely to resume the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade soon, the authorities are working on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in the Kashmir valley and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 18 had suspended the cross-LoC trade in J&K, saying that it was being used for “funneling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”.
“As such there is no order to resume the LOC trade but yes work had started on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in Kashmir and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu,” said one of the top government officials.
He said if the trade resumed, the truck scanners will enable the customs department and other agencies to see what is being imported from the other side.
After suspending the LOC trade, the MHA had said that the issue will be “revisited” after a “stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism” that is being worked out is “put in place in consultation with various agencies”.
Cross-LoC traders and others associated with the trade are demanding the resumption of the business.
Traders has said that they support the government’s every move to put strict and transparent regulatory measure but suspension of trade that took a decade to establish itself is no answer.
“Over the past decade, cross-LoC trade has been our only source of income. Suspension of trade has affected our families. We request government to implement strict regulatory measures and continue trade simultaneously,” said one of the LOC traders.
In October 2008, as a confidence building measure, India and Pakistan agreed to carry out trade along the Line of Control through the Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir and the Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu.
The two countries agreed on a Standard Operating Procedure.
The defining feature of the initiative was that there would be no exchange of money between traders – it would involve the barter system. If a trader in Pakistan sent across goods worth five lakh Indian rupees to a trader on the Indian side, that trader would send back goods of the same value as payment.
It is to mention here that the initiative was launched during the tenure of the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government, its seed was planted in 2004, in the peace process initiated by the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf.
Cross-LoC trade was the second confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan after a cross-LoC bus service, which was launched in 2005.
For security agencies, cross-LoC trade has always attracted strict surveillance. They have, over the years maintained that they seized weapons, fake currency and narcotics being transported from the other side.
B’pora teacher still missing; family protests for whereabouts
Srinagar, May 18: The family members and relatives of the missing Bandipora government teacher on Saturday held a demonstration here in Mantrigam Bandipora area of north Kashmir’s district seeking his whereabouts.
Eye witnesses said that family members and relatives of Mushtaq Ahmad lone a government teacher assembled here in Mantrigam area of Bandipora and blocked the Bandipora-Gurez road.
They staged a demonstration seeking Mushtaq’s whereabouts, who went missing on May 13 after he left home for duty to Government Higher Secondary School Chuntimulla and has not returned home till date.
Family sources said that they tried to locate him everywhere but couldn’t find any clue despite lodging missing report in Pathkoot Police station.
“We have called relatives and friends, however, there has been no trace of him so far,” the family members said adding “his phone has been switched off for a long time.”
The family members and relatives of Mushtaq urged deputy commissioner Bandipora and SSP Bandipora to help in locating their missing son.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said a missing report in this matter has been lodged in police station Pathkoot and investigation has been taken up.
Unabated killings even during Ramadan worrisome: PDP
Srinagar, May 18: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday said it’s worrisome to witness that there is no letup in killings and bloodshed in Kashmir even during the holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said the unabated killings of civilians, militants and security forces in Kashmir has once again made peace elusive even during the ongoing sacred month of Ramadan.
He said the way in which precious human lives are lost in Kashmir, there are apprehensions that the government is in no mood to shun the muscular policy that so far has yielded no positive results.
Hanjura said that it has been the cardinal Principe of the PDP that muscular and iron fist approach is bound to fail in Kashmir as such measures have in the past only wreaked havoc and in the future also wouldn’t bring any positive change on ground.
He said keeping the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan in view, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti as the Chief Minister last year played a vital role in making GOI declare unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir. This year also, said Hanjura, the PDP President made a fervent appeal to both militants as well to the security grid to declare truce and respect the ongoing holy month. “It is hoped that good sense will prevail and the vicious cycle of violence and bloodshed is stopped at an earliest so that the people of Kashmir yearning for peace could heave a sigh of relief,” said Hanjura.
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