Move to help boost employment: CEO JKERA
Srinagar, Sept 30: The traditional wool-based industry in Jammu and Kashmir is being given a major overhaul under the ongoing World Bank-funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP).
The move is being hailed by the people associated with the wool production as well as the employees working at the heritage Bemina Woollen Mills, Srinagar, according to an official spokesperson.
Chief Executive Officer J& K Economic Reconstruction Agency Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said that the JKERA under the component of Restoration and Strengthening of Livelihoods of the World Bank funded JTFRP is taking concrete steps for the restoration and strengthening of livelihoods under the traditional cottage based industry and this step a major revamp is underway for the restoration of Bemina Woollen Mills. He said that the objective of the sub-project is to strengthen the infrastructure of the heritage mill and provide the machinery with latest equipment so that the production of wool products is maximised to full potential. Besides the local wool producers also get a good demand for their produce locally, CEO said.
The CEO said that the work under the component of Strengthening & Restoration of Livelihood as well as other components of JTFRP are going on smoothly , saying that with the completion of such projects, the concerned sectors would get hugely benefited.
“We are trying to work on the various components across Jammu and Kashmir at the same time. We hope our interventions bring about a positive impact in the lives of beneficiaries” the CEO said.
He said for the heritage Bemina Woollen Mills, the project is being executed by the Department of Industries and Commerce as the project implementation unit.
The sub-project involves the construction of a building of Showroom and for Wool products manufactured at the Govt. Woollen Mills , Bemina, were wool products manufactured at the Govt. Woollen Mills, Bemina will be showcased which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 2 crores . It also includes the restoration and repair works of the Government Woolen Mill at Bemina which had suffered immense damage during the floods of 2014 .Work is nearing completion and is expected to be completed soon with more than 80% progress achieved on the sub-project with work alreadycompleted on the main buildings and work underway on interior finishing components.
Sajid Nazir, Nodal Officer, Industries and Commerce, J&K, said that under the component various latest equipment’s have been being procured, including 8 hi-tech looms in order to strengthen the infrastructure at Government Woolen Mills Bemina. Besides this, the component aims to carry out the procurement of Rapier looms, boilers, dyeing and related types of equipment etc for which contract has been awarded.
“Overall the sub-project involves the civil work component under which new showrooms cum interpretation centre came up. The Showroom would be completedsoon and this will surely help our products to get the better market,” Nazir said.
He said that in order to arrest losses, the J & K government from time to time invested money into the rundown Bemina Woolen Mills to improve its products that had plummeted to an all-time low.
He said that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the top ten states/UTs, which has the top quality wool production. Nazir said that with the commissioning of several of these sub-projects, the demand for the raw wool produced locally would be in great demand at Government Bemina Woollen Mill would not only benefit the department but around 3000 families associated with the wool production and its processing.
Another official, Khurshid Ahmad at BeminaWoolen Mills said that “2014 floods washed away everything at the Mill and most of the expensive machines and looms got washed away,” he said. He said that while a washing unit was installed and old machines repaired, most of the capital infusion was devoured by the civil works.”
He said that the upgradation works of the Govt. Woollen Mill at Bemina will help them to increase the production from next fiscal. “We have nearly hundreds of workers and the unit has suffered immensely and once we achieve the target, we should be able to have a bit of profit as well,” he said.
Pertinently, the government-run Bemina Woollen Mill is marketing certain finished products and is trying to compete with larger manufactures like Raymonds and Vimal beside the J&K Handicrafts Development Corporation which is the major Tweed manufacturer in J&K. The officials said that thrust would remain on producing high quality woollen& worsted tweed suiting, serge, Angola, Terricot, blankets.
Industrial Association Lassipora dismayed over ‘unprofessional behaviour’ of J&K Bank branch manager
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.
Desist from levying commitment charges: 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.
7 out of 10 industrial centres in Kashmir headless: FCIK
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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