Industries sagging in Jammu and Kashmir

February 9th, 2012 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Feb 9 (IANS) Industries in Jammu and Kashmir are showing signs of decline despite the incentives and concessions provided by the central government since 2002.

Entrepreneurs and economy watchers say the state industries department has not been able to take steps it had promised to promote the sector which it had said was “the only way to development and creating jobs.”

In 2002, the central government had announced a package of incentives and concessions for industries in Jammu and Kashmir for a period of 10 years. Also, the state had announced a new industrial policy in 2004 that will remain operational until March 31, 2015.

But “the policy is merely on papers and hardly anything is in practical terms,” an industries department official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Replying to a recent right to information (RTI) query, the department said there are about 25,000 industrial units in Jammu and Kashmir, including 150 under the large and medium category. Of these about 11,300 are in the Jammu region and the rest in the Kashmir valley.

“Industrialisation is the only way forward for development and employment in the state. But Jammu and Kashmir has not been able to come up with an effective policy and pursuance to promote industries, which can boost the economy and address the problem of unemployment,” said C.L. Gupta, a retired officer of the industries department.

He said the government had not been able to incentivise the sector. “As a result, people are hesitating to start industries and industrial houses from outside the state too are shying away.”

The industries department, he said, was yet to set up a long promised “Textile Park” in Kathua to provide employment to 3,000 people.

Rakesh Sharma, a 29-year unemployed in Jammu, said he met state Industries and Commerce Minister Surjeet Singh Salathia in May 2009, heading a deputation of over 25 unemployed youths. Salathia promised that he was personally supervising the registration of new units that would not take more than seven days and that a complaint redressal centre had been set up.

“Nothing has happened till date. We are still finding problems in setting up industries in Jammu in terms of getting land and other formalities,” Sharma said.

“The government’s apathetic attitude towards the industries sector is resulting in many units going sick,” said R.S. Padha (name changed), who runs a small scale unit in the Bari Brahmana Industrial area.

According to an RTI reply, nearly 350 industrial units in the state have gone sick in the last 10 years.

“The generic nature of these units going sick during the last 10 years was turmoil in the Kashmir region, besides inadequate financing by banks and lack of marketing facilities for end-products,” said the government in the RTI reply.

Said Sharma: “This proves that the government has no policy at all. The industries minister had told us that there were strict instructions by the finance ministry to banks to meet the targets of loans and action would be taken against the banks that do not meet the targets.”

Gupta said entrepreneurs were facing problems in getting raw material and marketing the end-products. Besides, there is the problem of power shortage. “But that is partly compensated by 100 percent subsidy on diesel generator sets of 10-100 KV.”

“Basically we need to have an industry-friendly atmosphere and culture in Jammu and Kashmir which is lacking at the moment,” said Y.V. Sharma, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Jammu.

(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at

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