Exclusive to JK News Today
Jammu, October 21: With Kashmir Valley on boil for last four months, leaving every sector in Jammu and Kashmir in tatters, Chamber of Commerce (CCI), Jammu is worried about the economic collapse of the state. Chamber is also concerned about the losses suffered by Jammu during last four month which is nearly Rs 2,000 crore. Talking to JK News Today reporter, Yash Khajuria, CCI president Rakesh Gupta explained the worrisome situation. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Q: What is the state of Jammu economy these days?
Economy of Jammu and Kashmir has totally collapsed and it will take years before business cycle could be brought back on track or upto the level where it was about six months ago. Every sector especially tourism, retail and manufacturing has been badly affected due to violence in Valley. Whatever little investment we has expected had not come and infact vanished. Each region of state is interdependent turmoil affects us all.
Q: What effects has the Kashmir unrest left on Jammu?
Our main employment and revenue generator is tourism, be it the pilgrims or general holiday makers but Kashmir violence has left negative impression on the people. Pilgrims visiting Shri Amarnath Ji, and Mata Vaishno Devi has also affected and their number has come down this year.
Q: What are the reasons of economy going bad in Jammu?
2016 was considered promising as we were expecting a good season, the response to the online registration from pilgrims was overwhelming and it was expected that great number of people will visit the state but unfortunately turbulence in parts of the valley dashed all the hopes. Several incidents of attack on pilgrims by miscreants also affected the image of state.
Q: What is required to boost Jammu’s market?
As I already said Kashmir unrest has taken huge a huge toll on the economy. We have suffered am estimated loss of around Rs. 2000 crore. We have not been able to recover the investments made in different business ventures as majority of the traders have failed to deposit EMIs for bank loans. Also, in Jammu we lack potential tourist destinations to exploit winters with the business point of view.
- Impact of extension of railway track to holy town of Katra
With the extension of direct rail service to Katra, Jammu has lost its advantage as base camp. It does not enjoy the same status for lakhs of people visiting Mata Vaishno Devi as it used to before the extension of railway track to holy town. Considering the consequences of such a development, which is against the interest of people of Jammu from business point of view, the Chamber house has submitted a proposal to the Union government to set up a rail coach factory in Jammu as it would provide jobs for locals and it will be significant move towards restoring Jammu economically. Delay in construction of artificial lake on river Tawi, Bahu fort ropeway project, Patnitop tourist circuit have seriously affected the potential of Jammu to attract tourists espite have huge potential. If the government shows seriousness towards completing these projects in a time frame manner, these projects will be imperative in reviving Jammu’s Economy.
Q: Has the CCI put forward its problems before the government. If yes, what is Govt’s response to bring economy back on rails in Jammu?
Though we have full faith in the policies of the government and we all are standing shoulder to shoulder with it in the testing times of unrest in the valley but industry and traders in Jammu also need support. The Chamber house has sought certain concessions such as extension in the dates of filing of taxes IT returns. We are also hopeful that the government will provide certain exemption so as to recover the losses.