The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Friday expressed concern over lack of proper follow-ups on the cross-LoC trade, harassment of traders and range of other issues confronting the traders across the state.
The representatives of the business bodies of the twin capital cities, viz Jammu and Srinagar, held a joint press conference here and warned the state government that if the “unnecessary harassment” of traders wouldn’t stop, they may go for an indefinite strike in the days to come.
Speaking on Cross-LoC Trade issues, Rakesh Gupta, president JCCI said it was very unfortunate that one of the most important confidence building measures (CBMs) started 10 years back by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan is “dying a slow death” due to lack of proper follow-up actions.
He said that till date, three delegations of Pakistan Chamber have been hosted in Jammu and Kashmir, but the J&K delegations have not been allowed to visit the other side even once, as a result the meetings between the business bodies are being held only in other countries, thus making the cross-LoC CBMs merely a “cosmetic exercise.”
Seconding Gupta, the president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Sheikh Ashiq Ahmed also expressed grave concern over lack of follow-up actions on the cross-LoC trade.
He hailed the opening of Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan and appealed the GoI and state government to carry forward the CBMs initiated 10 years back by the respective Prime Minister of the India and Pakistan.
“At present, the cross-LoC trade via Jammu and Kashmir has been confined to only 5-6 items despite the fact that it was the biggest CBM between the three chambers of Jammu, Kashmir and one on the other side. We have to resume this afresh,” Ahmed said.
He also appealed the GoI to allow the J&K business bodies for cross-LoC visits.
Both Gupta and Ahmad also slammed the state taxes department for repeated raids on the traders across the state.
Gupta said that businessmen are being harassed even for minor mistakes and penalties in lakhs are being imposed on them despite the fact that government of India itself has admitted that it will take long time for the traders to understand the new tax regime, GST.
Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad also said that the functioning of the Excise and Customs Department has caused tremendous hardships to the exporters of the state and there seemed to be no accountability with regard to the providing of services.
Gupta further said that on one hand the State had blocked up huge capital of the industrial sector by not releasing the SGST refunds, which had brought the industry on the verge of closure, and on the other hand, traders were being targeted on flimsy excuses.