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Industry

J&K Govt notifies SOP for resuming industrial operations

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786 units in Jammu, 455 in Kashmir divisions operational  

BK News

Jammu, May 1: To ease public hardship due COVID19 lockdown, the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (State Executive Committee) Government of Jammu and Kashmir has notified standard operating procedure for regulating activities of industries, industrial, commercial and private establishmentsin pursuance to measures being taken up during lockdown.

As per the order, the Industries & Commerce Department has been vested with the authority for issuance of orders to permit operation of industrial units. The SOP has specified the categories of industry to be permitted to operate during the period of lockdown which included essential commodities comprising basic food processing activities, Packaged processed food items, pharmaceuticals, soaps, disinfectant and detergents, agro products, Packaging Material, Cold Storages, Packaged Drinking water and Cotton Masks.

In addition, some activities have also been permitted on case to case basis like Repair of transformers and Parts thereof, production of cardboard/ wooden boxes for apple/ fruit packing, Industries operating in rural areas, Brick Kilns in rural areas and production units requiring continuous manufacturing process. Besides, manufacturing activities within the Industrial Estates have been allowed on case-to-case basis where the arrangement for stay of workers is possible within the premises or an adjacent building.

Besides, the units manufacturing Medical/Health infrastructure items, Sanitization Tunnels/ fumigation Tunnels are also to be permitted to operate on case to case basis if existing within the Industrial Estates. Specific manufacturing activities, if essential, for meeting requirement of the Government and projects like development/construction and other works of industrial estates are also to be permitted.

Likewise, services including Print and electronic media, IT & ITES, Data and Call Centres for Government activities only, CSCs, e-com companies, Courier Services, Cold Storage & warehousing, Private Security Services, Hotels & Home Stays accommodating persons stranded due to lockdown and establishments used for quarantine facilities would to be permitted to operate.

The Department of Industries & Commerce under the guidance of Commissioner Secretary, Industries & Commerce, has permitted 1007 industrial units to operate during the lockdown period in Jammu while as 468 units have been permitted in Kashmir as per provisions of the Standard Operating Procedure. Corresponding to the above 786 units have resumed their operation in Jammu whereas 455 units have become operational in Kashmir.

The Department has facilitated operation of all Pharmaceuticals and Oxygen gas bottling units. Other category of units which have been permitted to operate included Flour Mills, Rice Mills, Oil Mills, Packaging Material, Dal & Besan, Animal/ Poultry Feed, Surgical bandage, Disposal Syringes, Cotton and Dental material, Packaged Drinking Water, Iodized Salt, Agrochemicals, Spices, Cold Storage Facilities, Milk Processing, Soap Detergents, Sanitization Tunnels, Food Processing, Steel Rolling Mills/ Furnaces, Plaster of Paris, Cement, Paints, PVC Granules, Mosquito Coils, Briquettes, Mattresses, Textiles, Cotton Masks etc.

The Industries & Commerce Department in unison with the Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has been able to ensure availability of essential commodities across J&K with effective maintenance of supply chain with no shortage of any item been reported from any part of J&K. The department has also facilitated operation of some warehouses where the material was to be supplied for construction of Government projects like Steel Authority of India Ltd.

However, permission for operating these units has been granted on the condition of following Social distancing norms as specified by the government under the notified SOP. The commuting of workers has to be done with only 30% capacity of the mode of transport used. The owners are required to keep the premises properly sanitized. The workers have to undergo thermal screening twice a day and wear masks. Medical insurance of the workers has been made mandatory besides strict ban on use of Gutka and Tobacco inside the unit premises and provision of hand wash and Sanitizer at sufficient number of places inside the unit premises observed.

It has been stipulated that the units shall operate with not more than one third of the staff and management to ensure maintenance of Social Distancing at the work place. Smaller units with strength of less than 20 persons and units where the labour resides within the unit premises are kept out of the purview of this stipulation. Pharmaceutical units have been permitted to work with 60% of the workforce.

The officers of the Industries & Commerce Department, have been asked to inspect such units on weekly basis to monitor the observance of norms of social distancing and related measures, inspected 221  units in Jammu Division upon which on observation of discrepancy permission in respect of 01 unit has been withdrawn by the Director Industries & Commerce, Jammu.

On the directions of Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce, the J&K Handloom Development Corporation and Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) have also mobilized their units to augment mask production for meeting the demand from various district authorities. About 8 Lakh masks have been manufactured by 28 units of the said Corporations after their operation during lockdown. 

J&K SIDCO and J&K SICOP are regularly carrying out fumigation and sanitation drives in all their estates on regular basis to ensure proper hygiene in the estates.

The Industries & Commerce department has also mobilized the Industrial units to come forward in CSR Activities. The Industrial Units have distributed sanitizer, masks and gloves. The activities also included making arrangements of food for workers and labourers in the industrial areas. Some units have also made monetary contribution towards J&K Relief Fund and PM CARES to the tune of Rs 50 lakh besides a Quarantine facility has been setup in Industrial Estate Lassipora by the concerned Industrial Association. Likewise, 4 COVID Sample collection booths have been donated to Health Department along with installation of Sanitization tunnels.

The staff of Industries & Commerce Department including various Corporations has also come forward in fight against COVID Pandemic by making contribution to J&K Relief Fund from their salary amounting Rs. 58.132 Lakh.

Meanwhile, Director Industries and Commerce, Jammu on 27-04-2020, conducted surprise inspection of Industrial units at Industrial Growth Centre Samba and Industrial Estate Kathua to ascertain whether the units are following the guidelines prescribed under the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Government,  to ensure that the units are complying with the social distancing norms, maintaining proper hygiene in the unit premise and wearing of  face masks by the employees.

The unit holders were advised to highlight guidelines and good hygienic practices in the shape of posters within the unit premises so that the workers are reminded of the same more frequently and in case they face hardship in getting the posters printed, the Federation of Industries, Jammu and other Associations have assured help to such units by getting the material printed.

Industry

Industrial Association Lassipora dismayed over ‘unprofessional behaviour’ of J&K Bank branch manager 

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Industrial Association Lassipora dismayed

Appeal LG, CEO J&K Bank for replacement 

Srinagar, Feb 1: Requesting Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and J&K Bank Managing Director and CEO to replace the branch manager of the bank at the estates, the Industrial Association of Lassipora (IAL) has expressed dismay over what it called the unprofessional attitude of the branch head at IGC Lassipora.

In a written statement issued to Business Kashmir, the IAL said the manager heading the J&K Bank branch in Lassipora is displaying “unethical behaviour and unprofessionalism” towards the industrialists located at the branch.

“The branch manager’s lack of knowledge and understanding of the MSME sector has resulted in several complaints from the industrial unit holders and has raised concerns among the industries that form the backbone of the local economy,” read the statement.

Lassipora is home to over 500 micro, small, and medium-scale industries, making it one of the largest industrial growth centres in Jammu and Kashmir.

Given the vital role that banking plays in the development of industries, it is essential that banks located in the vicinity of industrial areas have personnel trained in the handling of MSMEs, it said.

The Reserve Bank of India has emphasized the importance of MSMEs as a priority sector for commercial banks.

“Therefore, the Industrial Association of Lassipora respectfully requests the Honorable Lieutenant Governor and the Managing Director & CEO of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited to replace the current branch manager with a professional who possesses the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively handle the MSME sector,” read the statement, adding, “Such a change would significantly contribute to the growth and development of the local industries in Lassipora.”

Highlighting the significance of the MSME sector in India, IAL called on the UT and J&K Bank authorities to take necessary measures to ensure that the operations of the J&K Bank branch in Lassipora are carried out in a fair, professional, and efficient manner.

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Finance

Desist from levying commitment charges: FCIK to J&K Bank

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FCIK to J&K Bank

Srinagar, Dec 18: Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has urged on J&K Bank authorities to withdraw their latest decision regarding levying of ‘Commitment Charges’ on the unutilised portion of the loans and credit lines provided to the enterprises.

While expressing its displeasure, the FCIK in a statement issued to Business Kashmir said that it was for the first time in the history of J&K Bank that borrowers were being made to pay for loans or the portion of loans which actually they didn’t lift or utilize. The bank would not so far levy such charges probably in acknowledgement of the un-conducive working atmosphere.

According to the guidelines issued by RBI, levying of commitment charges was not mandatory upon the financing banks but discretionary, and it was left to the wisdom of banks to charge or not to charge it, said the FCIK.

“If the plea of the bank was that they could have earned interest on the unutilised portion of the loan, had they lent it to other borrowers, the question could be asked about the gap between their credit flow and permissible limit of lending which continues to be huge despite some narrowing in the recent past,” reads the statement.

FCIK agreed that J&K Bank had been extending some small concessions including waiver of commitment charges to the borrowers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but that was only peanuts in reciprocity to the gesture that 88.2% of the total deposits of the bank comes from the kith and kin of these borrowers at an unprecedentedly low rate of just 3.67%  which was the lowest than available to any other national or commercial bank in the country.

While criticizing the decision, FCIK questioned the wisdom of the bank to perceive that the condition of entrepreneurs had changed for to better now to take additional brunt even after facing long spells of business interruptions from the 2014 floods to the aftermath of the Covid-19 situation. The bank should know that currently the product market appetite ran at its lowest ebb for the complexities caused by these situations besides the change in policies which obviously resulted in the lifting of lower amounts from sanctioned credit lines, reads the statement.

Hailing the prudent entrepreneurs for lifting only the required portion of the amount out of their sanctioned credit line in tune with market demand for their products, FCIK cautioned the bank not to force them to lift entire sanctioned loans for illegally siphoning it off towards any other non-bonafide activity. It was as such imperative upon the bank to withdraw the decision of levying commitment charges till the product market appetite stabilized.

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Industry

7 out of 10 industrial centres in Kashmir headless: FCIK

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FCIK to J&K Bank

Seeks LG’s intervention

Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Wednesday said seven out of district industrial centres in Kashmir are headless, proving a roadblock in industrial development.

According to a statement issued to the Business Kashmir, during the FCIK advisory committee meeting, members expressed regret that seven out of 10 District Industries Centres (DICs) in the valley had presently been rendered headless which include DICs of Baramulla, Anantnag, Budgam, Kupwara, Kulgam, Shopian and Bandipora.

The members questioned the bureaucracy that why should it ignore replacements in DICs during routine transfers of officers when it was aware that the role of DICs in promoting, facilitating and developing industry in the district was pivotal and critical. They said that assigning of the additional charge of DICs to officers already overburdened with their own jobs, generates more distrust and scepticism than giving any hope and solace to the entrepreneurs, the members said.

Quoting an example, the members informed that General Manager DIC Baramulla who also held two more charges of GM DIC Kupwara and Programme officer ICDS at the time of transfer in March 2022 was not replaced by any other officer. Instead, the additional charge was assigned to GM DIC Budgam in May  till 17th of November when he was also transferred rendering both the DICs of Baramulla and Budgam unmanned simultaneously. The members said that DICs of Kupwara and Bandipora were now forgotten for years.

Speaking on the occasion, President Shahid Kamili said that FCIK had time and again taken up the matter of appointment of GMs with relevant authorities but it was unfortunate that instead of filling the vacant positions, many more DICs were eventually rendered headless.

The FCIK in the meeting, according the statement, has called for a considerable degree of internal cohesiveness through well-meaning and accountable bureaucracy to accomplish and foster the ambitious industrialisation process launched by the government for UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The presidents of various industrial estates, while registering their problems, complained of the bureaucratic hick-ups and callousness in facilitating the prospective entrepreneurs to set up their industrial ventures besides timely resolution of issues confronting smooth operations of the existing industry,” read the statement.

“The presidents cautioned that in case the bureaucratic hurdles continued without any checks and accountability, the same can harm the ambitious plan and may also produce results in the opposite direction.”

They said that the industrialisation programme would require restructuring of the whole hierarchy in the industries department with a clear chain of command that decide about matters rapidly and also delegates powers to subordinate team members. A set of officers having clear understanding of industrial promotion and dynamism in the approach needs to be put in charge of various positions for a longer duration of not less than 2-3 years, observed the members.

The meeting resolved to approach and seek the intervention of the Lieutenant Governor for taking note of the “non-seriousness on the part of the concerned bureaucracy” and issue directions for the immediate transfer of capable officers to fill the vacancies in the above-mentioned DICs. It was also decided in the meeting that FCIK shall soon submit a detailed note on the desired hierarchy of officers in industries and related departments along with their functions for the consideration of the Lieutenant Governor.

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