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Refunds lingering on for months: GST crippled valley’s business sectors: Chamber

March 7, 2019

Srinagar, Mar 6: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) Wednesday said that the implementation of GST in the State of Jammu and Kashmir has “crippled” the handicrafts, tourism and industry sectors of the state.
A spokesman quoting Chamber’s Senior Vice President, Nasir Hamid Khan, said the KCC&I, along with a majority of other stakeholders, had opposed the implementation of the law primarily on the ground that is would dilute the unique constitutional status and autonomy Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed.
“The impact has crippled our Handicrafts, Tourism and Industry sectors. The refunds to industries are lingered on for months together on one pretext or the other,” the spokesman said.
In its report given in 2018, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture had also raised red flags over the implementation of GST on Tourist related activities.
The report had further underlined the sensitive nature of our State and stated that the implementation of GST on Tourism would have “manifold effects, mostly negative, on the economy in the region”.
Recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the need for capping airfares have also been ignored by the Union Government, the spokesman said.
“The KCC&I has been demanding bringing air travel under the Essential Services Act of the State in view of the frequent closure of the only road link to Kashmir. Although the Ministry of Civil Aviation, under the UDAN Scheme for the promotion of regional connectivity for making flying affordable, proposes 30-minute flight to cost only Rs 1,200/-, the citizens of our State are being forced to pay more than Rs 20,000 for the same distances,” the spokesman said.
He added that in the past three weeks, a “sinister campaign” targeting the tourism sector has been started on the social media and sections of the electronic and print media.
“The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & industry in consultation with other tourism players would be constituting a joint team for visiting friendly domestic tourism markets and interacting with our counterparts,” he said.

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