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Imran Murtaza takes oath as president Industrial Association Khunmoh

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Industrial Association Khunmoh oathtaking

BK News 

Srinagar, Nov 12: Industrial Association Khunmoh (IAK) Thursday held a special ceremony to administer the oath of office to its newly elected body members at Khunmoh Industrial Office.

Elections for the executive body of the Industrial Association Khunmoh were recently held, in which Imran Murtaza of Agrino Snacking won by the margin of 26 votes for the post of president.

Zahoor Ahmad Malik and Khan Yaseer Yousouf were elected as senior vice president and vice president. Sajad Ahmad and Abid Misgar as secretary-general and secretary finance, whereas, Oves Ur Rehman and Shaheen Khan were elected, secretary publicity and secretary IAK.

The oathtaking ceremony was held in presence of Managing Director SIDCO Agha Aijaz Hussain, J&K Bank zonal officer Syed Rais Maqbool, president FCIK Shahid Kamili, ex-president KCCI Sheikh Ashiq, ex-president FCIK Mohd Ashraf Mir, and members of IAK and Khunmoh Welfare Association.

Speakers, on the occasion, talked about the role of entrepreneurship and the scope of the manufacturing sector in Kashmir. They applauded J&K Bank for its role in the growth of industries in Kashmir and its special attention towards the MSMEs in the estates.

President IAK Imran Murtaza said special attention and a humane approach is needed for the industries in Kashmir, which remained mostly closed in the last two years.

“Industries are in dire need of a dry port and a marketing intervention package. In times of information era, technology infrastructure upgradation in all estate is important, which is mostly lagging,” he said.

“A credit line for industries should come under different schemes. We have cash flow cycles, which are different from general trading and that should be given special consideration while providing a credit line for industries.”

IAK produces a large variety of products like POP, bakery, cement products, milk, furniture, etc mostly for consumption in the local market.

 

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AgriBiz

FCIK aghast over govt plan to establish packhouse in Sopore

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Govt-owned packhouse in Sopore

Seeks use of cardboard manufacturing infrastructure created by private players

BK News 

Srinagar, Jan 17: Federation of Chamber Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has demanded that government should support the existing unit holders to fulfil the demand of the packaging and has taken a strong note of the government’s plan to establish 40 MT integrated packhouse at Doabagh Sopore, as it seems that government is giving birth to one more loss-making PSU. On the one hand, the government is planning to disinvest the PSU’s and establishing of the new one seems to be a disaster and repetition of the government mistakes which is unwarranted.

In a statement, FCIK President Shahid Kamili said the establishment of a packhouse by the government at Sopore will deal a severe blow to the existing pack houses established by local entrepreneurs. Kamili said there is no need to establish additional facilities when private entrepreneurs have already established around 150 state-of-art corrugated cardboard manufacturing facilities worth Rs 750 crores at various places catering to the Valley’s horticulture produce successfully.

It said the existing installed capacity of packaging products is more than the demand of the horticulture crop from the Valley and the additional facility by the government would also be a loss-making unit.“It seems that the government has not learned from its various loss-making PSUs. This facility would not only prove white elephant for the state exchequer but will also destabilise facilities put up by the local entrepreneurs. The non-functioning of the Government PSUs have proved that the PPP models have failed. Government should instead help the existing units to give a fillip to the private sector,” said FCIK.

Stating that the packing industry is already saturated and ruthless competition has pushed the existing units to the wall, the FCIK demanded that such line of activity should not be encouraged and instead existing units should be further augmented with Government hand-holding and capital infusion. FCIK said the existing units provide employment to around 2500 youth directly and 10000 indirectly who will also stare at expulsion if a government facility comes up.

FCIK further said Government should address other important issues including the tax evasion of the horticulture packaging products coming from outside J&K which have affected the local horticulture industry badly.

In this regard, the FCIK has urged the government to impress upon the Jammu and Kashmir Horticulture Planning and Marketing Corporation to cancel the tender inviting bids for the construction of 40 MT integrated packhouse at Doabagh Sopore and also sign MoUs with existing units so that government provides them with the marketing support to their business venture. Government should take local industry leaders on board before making such decisions as the local unitholders are aware of the current industry status and how it can be promoted. As the current supply from the existing units is enough and as per the required standards which is needed to be augmented by the government hand-holding and demands marketing support.

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Entrepreneurship

Finding money out of business idea and not business idea out of money

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Finding money out of business idea

An entrepreneurial voyage

Dhaar Mehak M

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help.The most important consideration of a sustainable business is market knowledge. This is followed by the viability of output and the approximate industrial location. Ibrahim Rah, a man stating from the battle to survive himself and sustain his family at an early age came a long way while establishing his firm, ‘Rock-Land Sang Tarash’ along with his friend and partner Bilal Malik. The highlight of this business unit is that the duo has expertise in ‘Hamam’ making and have lately been successfully installing Hamam’s in the first and second stories of the houses in and across south Kashmir.

Practising the skills with hammers and stones, Ibrahim learnt the art of engraving over stones from his father. Like any other local, the toll of conflict did reach his individuality and his elder brother got shot by a random bullet in the 1990s. Soon after, his father passed away in an accident and the young kid was left alone and unaided to take care of his family. Struggling at every step, as he grew old day by day, he gained skill. He wanted to do something big with and about the stones right from the beginning. Managing to sustain his family at the margin for years, he moved out to Saudi Arabia in 2011, worked hard doing stone and tile work and came back in 2015.

Finding money out of business idea

Coming back, Ibrahim tried his best to find a partner to start his long due dream of starting the stone factory. A person agreed to join in and put in a little money. Jointly the duo pooled a basic sum to buy a machine used to cut stones. At the eleventh hour, however, the person backed off and the dream that seemed farfetched till date started to sink. In 2017, Ibrahim was installing Hamam at an acquaintance’s home. While having tea with him in the evening the journey as it is coming up in conversation and the acquaintance said that he was ready and confident in pooling in for a partnership.

When everything was falling apart, exactly at that point a new beginning was being carved from the rubble. Ibrahim went back to Rajasthan ordered the machine and stayed there for three months learning everything he didn’t know and specializing in taking care of the machine. As soon as the machine was ready, they transported it to Kashmir and parked it at home. In 2018, the land got allotted to the duo (Ibrahim and Bilal) in the (SICOP) Vessu Industrial estate of Qazigund. Soon after fencing, gate fixing and generation installation, the first machine was finally installed and the production began in the Fall of 2020 after the clearance of all NoCs and the appropriate registration of the unit.

Finding money out of business idea

Currently, the ‘Rock-Land Sang Tarash’ unit is classified as a micro-unit as per the MSMEs definition (2020) based on the value of their ‘Plant and Machinery. The current turnover of the unit is limited given the infancy of its operation. The unit currently employs four machine operators, twenty labourers and two drivers; all locals. The unit specializes in Hamam installation (on any floor of the house), stone cutting, tile making, stone panelling and other related things. The vision of Ibrahim along with Bilal and the entrepreneurial zest makes this unit a uniquely inspiring story of struggle, entrepreneurial spirit and steady growth. The current plans of the duo include further specialization and innovation in stone designing for houses and offices. With no proper mechanism of advertisement in place yet, the unit has a growing client-ship based on grape-wine.

The story of Ibrahim has certain underlying entrepreneurial lessons. The lesson he sums up from his own struggle is the notion of finding money out of business ideas and not the other way round. No entrepreneurial milestone could be reached till the person tastes dust for himself. At a more universal level, the story of the Rock-Land Sang Tarash is well-grounded in the principle of feasibility and viability of the business. Given the cold weather in the region, the obsession of people with the construction of up-to-date houses and the warm-blooded human nature compelling people to keep themselves warm; the viability of a stone unit in the region is quite obvious. In light of this example, a practical lesson is put forward for all the aspiring and potential entrepreneurs of checking and accessing the feasibility of a production line/business unit in the region (of J&K) before investing in an(y) idea.

Finding money out of business idea

The local market in J&K is still a big income booster for the firms located across India given the consumer nature and income level of the state. If researched properly and accessed with a vision, the industrial potential of J&K is deemed to touch great heights capturing the local market and decreasing the problem of unemployment. At the same time, the stories of struggle can be translated into anecdotes of success made of hard, smart and steady work…

The author is an industrial researcher and can be reached at [email protected] 

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Entrepreneurship

The Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries | A tale of Kashmir entrepreneurship

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Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

Dhaar Mehak M

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help.Given the context and historicity of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir (JK), the public sector influence on the industrialization process in the region has been considerably high. As such, the Department of Industries and Commerce has been the nodal public sector agency to control, coordinate and guide the industrialization process in J&K right from 1970.

One of the main corporations of the Industries Department is the J&K State Industries Development Corporation’ (SIDCO). The aim of the government behind setting up this corporation was to accelerate the process of industrialization in J&K in an advanced and modernistic manner. The main function of SIDCO is to promote the development of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in J&K. It is equally responsible to undertake all the Research and Development (R&D) pertaining to viability of potential units in light of location, economy, market and other business viability conditions. The smooth functioning of the firms located within the industrial estates falling in its jurisdiction are completely the responsibility of the ‘Institutional Entrepreneur’ that SIDCO is described to be.

In light of the growing job demand and falling job availability of the people, the J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) was established in 1997 as a premier training institute of the DIC. The main aim behind establishing the JKEDI is to put in place, foster and uphold the growth of entrepreneurship in J&K. As such, the JKEDI has been facilitating young enthusiastic and potential entrepreneurs with training, seed capital and other resources to undertake productive activities.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

And on the receiving end in one unique case are two young dynamic entrepreneurs who left their jobs in order to venture together into self-employment giving vent to their entrepreneurial spirits. Having decided to quit the 9-5 job, two of them began to research the local market and the suppliers that dominated the J&K market. One stark thing found during 2010-11 was that 98% of ‘nails’ used in the construction of all sorts across J&K are imported from the rest of the country and only 2% of the demand is met by local production. No matter the size of a nail, the fact of the matter is that the construction industry dominated J&K and ‘nails’ are a fundamental requirement in any sort of construction.

After exhaustive research, the two young men decided to start the first ‘Wall-Putty’ unit in the region. The ‘ESSAI industries’ as they named it in high hope, were facilitated by JKEDI in setting up their plant. The unit was started by employing eight people in 2013 in the Lassipora Industrial Growth Center, Pulwama falling under SICDO. The unit started off well as recalled by the duo with a market response better than their expectations.

The Flood of 2014 disrupted the production for around six months and the production was resumed in the spring of 2015. The shock of 2016 partially hampered the production process and during 2017 the production, supply, marketing and demand were as high as it could get. With this, the obvious business plan of the extension was set in the plan and the ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NoC) for the construction of ‘Plaster of Paris’ (PoP) was attained from SIDCO itself. The construction of the unit began in the March of 2018, on 4 Kanal of land in the same estate. The project cost of the PoP plant was 3.56 crore in 2018 and the trial batch was produced in the March of 2020.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

Soon after the production of the trial batch the dusting issue surfaced, which was obvious given the existent technology and practices of production pan-India and ironic in light of the NoC already given to the entrepreneurs. The vicinity reported dusting issues. Queries and complaints surfaced. And given the principle of ‘greatest good of greatest number’ the production of the PoP plant was brought to a halt. The market share of the unit declined drastically. The unit failed to meet the suppliers’ demands on time. Delays became a routine and order cancellations increased. About 45 people employed in the unit lost their jobs with the shutting down of the plant. With this, the ESSAI industries and their celebrated PoP vanished from the market leaving the entrepreneurs to find non-obvious ways to pay off the debts.

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help. The very genuine and obvious demands of the unitholders are to auction the closed unit and relocation of the firm so that production could be resumed. It has been observed that the authorities have failed over the past two years to undertake these two simple tasks in order to liberate the duo from the crisis they are facing. The auctioning notices (one or two) have failed to materialize. No relocation is being facilitated and no committee is being made to look deeper into the issue and no solution has been proposed to date.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

At the individual level, the duo has been liquidating their household assets to repay the debts and pay the banks. During 2020-21 they have repaid Rs 32 lakh to the bank while there has been no production. Both the entrepreneurs who are in their 30s are facing hypertension and are on high medication. They have been living stressful lives all of a sudden with the halt in production and facing a downfall that is technically unjustified. While narrating their woeful story they sigh remembering the good times when they were capturing the local market and doing excellently well in business.

The most important outcomes from examples like these are the wrong market signalling. Instances like the above one make entrepreneurship look risky and non-rewarding. In the region of J&K where the job market is already constrained and the unemployment rate is 22%, the only viable solution is that of self-employment, the scope of administrative bottlenecks and callous approach is literally nil. DIC and all its affiliated corporations must revisit their mandates and understand the serious role they are charged with. While the above issue should have been sorted out in a weeks’ time, it can’t be left lingering in thin air for years at a stretch. This write-up will be followed back in three months’ time to access the latest development on the self-employment scenario in the region in light of the case just highlighted here.

The author is an industrial researcher and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

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