For the first of its kind, the Valley traders Monday boycotted the pre-budget deliberations with the state administration and said they will observe the proposed meeting dates as black day. An amalgam of business organizations here have boycotted the pre-budget deliberations being held by the state government led by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu. While addressing a joint news conference here at 7c’s restaurant at Sangarmal, the trader’s organizations said they will observe the pre-budget deliberations dates as black day due to the failure of the government. “After 2014 deluge in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government has miserable failed to rehabilitate the valley traders,” traders said, adding, “We have boycotted the deliberations to mark a protest against the failure of state administration,” they said. The traders bodies including The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir (FCIK), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEI), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Federation (KHARF), Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), House Boat Owners Association (HBOA), Transport Associations and Fruit Growers Association jointly addressed the presser here and announced to boycott the Budget and pre budget discussions with the state’s Finance Minister. While speaking in the presser, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Khan said that the tall claims of the state administration proved hoax on the ground as they have failed to rehabilitate the Valley traders here thereby leaving them to suffer. Calling the experience with the present dispensation as ‘discouraging’, Khan said, “The state government kept the assessments of the traders organizations at bay and has announced a meager amount for the rehabilitation of traders, which is clearly injustice with us. The hope we pinned on the regime over relief and rehabilitation was dejected by the authorities,” he said. Reacting upon the raids conducted by the commercial taxes department, labour department, and income tax department, Khan said that they are being harassed by one way or other. “Despite failing to rehabilitate us, the state government is unleashing terror by conducting such raids here,” he said. He said that government is extorting undue tax from business establishments and informed that government has received 26 per cent higher tax revenue than the previous year. Kashmir Traders and Manufacturing Federation (KTMF), President, Muhammad Sadiq Baqal while speaking in the presser said that the recently formed tourism advisory board has been set up to loot the state. “The board has been formulated to sanction land to outsiders and loot our resources,” he said. “The board is having only six local members while rest is outsider thereby clearly indicates that they want to give land to outsiders to establish their hotels and units in the state. Present dispensation has failed on all fronts in the state and should step down at earliest.” While supporting the claims made by Javaid Burza that the government is adopting wrong policies, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) President, Aafaq Qadri said that the transport, industrial and handicrafts sectors continue to bleed due to the wrong policies and priorities of the government. He said that due to adopting wrong policies, the industrial sector in the state has seen a significant fall in production since 2014 deluge. “Due to the failure of state government in rehabilitation and non-payment of the bills, the industrial sector are getting worsened with each passing day in the state thereby people affiliated with it are facing tremendous hardships,” he said. “After failing to rehabilitate them, the state government has directed the industrial estates to snap power supply to the unit after 5:00 pm, which is highly condemnable,” he said. The traders further said that the Mufti-led coalition government is adopting “anti-state and anti-business” policies here. On the sidelines of the presser here, Fayaz Bakhshi, a senior member of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) told KNS that the government is trying its level best to approach the trader’s organizations but the trader’s body will never show its presence in the pre-budget deliberations.
2015 Kashmir Despatch