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Snow-affected Lassipora unitholders demand insurance cover



Industrialists demand insurance cover

Say insurance companies deny natural calamities under existing schemes

BK News

Lassipora (Pulwama), Jan 31: Stating that recent snowfall has heavily damaged various industrial units in Kashmir, MSME industrialists operating from IGC Lassipora demand insurance cover for industries vulnerable to natural disasters.

While the MSMEs, in general, have been affected by the natural disasters, the recent snow fury particularly has caused huge damage to a number units, including factory structures and sheds, the industrialists said.

“I haven’t witnessed such a heavy snowfall in my lifetime. It enormously damaged a number of industrial units here. My own factory shed was damaged by snow, which also damaged machinery due to roof collapse,” said former senior vice president of FCIK and a prominent industrialist of IGC Lassipora, Haji Mohammed Muzaffer.

J&K Government needs to understand that such disasters have a larger impact on the MSME performance, he said.

“Therefore, we request the government to cover such natural calamities under insurance, for which we already pay premiums. But unfortunately, the insurance companies decline our claims calling it an ‘Act of God’, which is unfortunate,” he said.

The industrialists sought government intervention so that the insurance companies are made accountable for paying the damage.

“We want the government to act as an initiator in this process. Besides, as the main damage here is on sheds and equipment, the government agencies should procure capital and distribute to the relevant firms, who have faced the damage,” they said.

As natural disasters are unpredictable, full prevention is not possible. Disaster risk can be minimized by introducing insurance schemes. But, it is not possible for MSME to pay high insurance premium themselves separately. The government needs to step in as a premium sharing partner allowing all MSMEs to get the protection, if the insurance companies fail to cover such calamities under comprehensive insurance, they said.

Industrialists said the authorities should think about rebuilding infrastructure on modern lines, creation of well-planned industrial zones and establishing business development services.

“In Kashmir, we are being challenged by disaster after disaster. COVID19 is not the only crisis that J&K has faced in the last two decades. Therefore, we request for Lt Governor’s intervention for helping us out,” they said.


Editorial | Prioritise wool & leather industry



Prioritise wool & leather industry

Despite plenty of raw materials and huge availability of manpower which would have created a niche in certain sectors for the UT, Kashmir is facing acute economic underdevelopment and unemployment problem.

A place, which has plenty of both natural resources and human capital – two key ingredients for industrial progress – lacks in industrial development as well as uplifting its people. This kind of situation can only be defined as the worst ineptitude of the policymakers and people at the helm of affairs.

Leaving aside the big industries, just talk of a small industrial sector and its employment generation and economic potential. Kashmir being a voracious meat-eating place in the country, around 70-80 lakh animal hides, mostly sheep and goat, are produced annually. In fact, about 8 lakh hides are produced on the day of Edi-al-Adha only.

But due to lack of tanneries and other facilities for leather processing, more than 98 percent of these hides are exported unprocessed. Later some of these animal skins are bought back from different tanneries of Punjab, Haryana and Utter Pradesh in the shape of the finished leather to suffice the needs of whatever little leather production units, mostly the handmade ones, we have here to produce jackets and other leather items.

As per the estimates given by the traders, if the leather industry is developed with tanning and other processing up to the finished product level it can turn into more than a billion-dollar (Rs 10,000 crore) sector annually creating an unimaginable number of jobs.

A similar situation is faced with the 10,000 metric tons of wool produced annually. Not even one percent of the wool produced in Kashmir is processed here despite Kashmir having huge demand for woollen products due to cold climatic conditions.

While we sell these raw materials at throwaway costs and repurchase finished products worth billions, we also lose thousands of jobs and losses in billions due to lack of policymaking and wrong priorities.

And another key ingredient vital for developing this kind of industries is investment and Kashmir does not face the problem for that. As per the credit-deposit (CD) ratio of J&K, for every hundred rupees deposited in a bank, only Rs 45 are invested back or given as credit in the state. While Rs 55 are either invested outside the state or remain with the banks.

If the government can provide policy and planning, Kashmir can not only create the required jobs within the state but will bring economic prosperity and a favourable credit deposit ratio for the state.

Government and policymakers need to prioritise the development of the wool and leather industry, as there is plenty of raw material available for the same.

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FCIK hails LG Sinha for creating entrepreneur-friendly industrial ecosystem



FCIK hails LG Sinha

BK News

Jammu, Feb 6: Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has hailed Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha for his vision of creating an entrepreneur-friendly industrial ecosystem in J&K.

“The financial package announced in September last year gave hope to the entrepreneurs of J&K to run their business. Even in today’s meeting assurances by LG and patient hearing during deliberations and presentation of demands over the present industrial scenario is praiseworthy,” President FCIK Shahid Kamli said in a statement after meeting LG Manoj Sinha in Rajbhawan, Jammu.

FCIK administrative council delegation led by President Kamli apprised the LG about the present scenario of the industry which is ailing since 2009 and immediate action by the government required to save the industry which is employing lakhs of skilled and unskilled in the valley. The delegation also sought immediate restoration of marketing support which has been put to a halt due to the imposition of the GEM portal and expressed satisfaction that  LG  assured the immediate remedial measures.

“We also discussed the release of due payments & delayed payments so that capital flow will help industries to run smoothly,” Kamli said.

He also said that a detailed discussion regarding industrial policy, agriculture, horticulture, poultry, and handicrafts sector was discussed and FCIK was very positive over the assurances of LG to revive these sectors.

The meeting, according to FCIK, also discussed the GST claims/remissions and returns under SRO 63/519/521 and ambiguity related to VAT returns pertaining to the pre-GST regime.

The delegation also sought the intervention of LG Sinha to address their issues with financial lending institutions.

FCIK apprised the LG that the unitholders who are “tired and unviable” may be given exit route by way of OTS and the unitholders who still want to sail through even after distressed times over the years may be restructured and given ample working capital to restart their business immediately as the working season has started after COVID19 and harsh winters slowdown.

While thanking LG Sinha for his financial package on September 25, 2020, which gave hope to the unitholders and recent industrial policy, the FCIK delegation sought compensation to the business community for the losses suffered after August 5, 2019 and extending provision of benefits of industrial policy to the existing unitholders.

Meanwhile, FCIK thanked Advisor to LG Baseer Khan for his role in creating a positive ecosystem for the industries in J&K and his support to the industrialists during his different capacities.

A delegation led by the FCIK president also called on Baseer Khan to express their gratitude for his support in addressing the concerns of unitholders.

The delegation had a follow-up meeting with Advisor Baseer Khan regarding the issues and demands as discussed earlier with LG where he was also present.

Meanwhile, a meeting was held with Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce Manoj Diwedi at the behest of LG at civil secretariat Jammu to discuss various issues including new industrial policy and the present health of the industrial sector in J&K.

The delegation also called on chairman PCB Chugh, MD SIDCO, and MD SICOP and highlighted the issues concerning the unitholders.

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CBI arrests ESIC incharge regional director J&K while taking bribe



ESIC regional director arrested

New Delhi, Jan 31: CBI has arrested the Deputy Director of the Jammu regional office of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 50,000 for helping lower a complainant’s penalty amount from Rs 23 lakh, officials said Saturday.

Darabara Singh, who is also in-charge Regional Director, was nabbed on a complaint of a private security firm employee and the owner who had received a notice from ESIC office for improper papers, they said.

On knowing this, the complainant and the owner, both visited the office of ESIC to meet Deputy Director.

During the meeting, the Deputy Director, ESIC, allegedly told the complainant that their papers were not proper and ESIC would impose a penalty of Rs 23.90 lakh on them and if they would pay him a bribe of Rs 2 lakh, he can reduce the penalty amount, CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi said.

After negotiation, they were told to pay the bribe in four instalments of Rs 50,000 each, he said.

The CBI acted on the complaint and laid a trap where Singh was caught red-handed receiving the bribe instalment, Joshi said.

Searches were conducted at the premises of accused in Chandigarh, Mohali & Jammu which led to the recovery of cash of Rs 7 lakh and documents related to properties, he said. (PTI)

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