Srinagar: Director Industries & Commerce Mehmood Shah on Saturday admitted that the economy of J&K has suffered huge brunt since August 5, 2019 and said since J&K special status was abrogated several locals and foreigners have approached for investment in J&K.
Talking exclusively to Kashmir News Service (KNS), Shah said that the economy of J&K has been hugely declined since the post August 2019 uncertainty and followed by Covid-19 lockdown situation. He said department is on toes for its revival and number of locals and foreigners are ready to invest in education, health, horticulture and agriculture like sectors.
“After abrogation of Article 370, not only locals but foreigners are eagerly waiting for investing in Kashmir which surely boosts local economy. Several people have approached us for investment in vital sectors like education, health, horticulture and agriculture. Education is important one”, Shah said.
He said that thousands of students and patients are annually travelling to outside UT for meeting their requirement. “Thousands of students are getting admission annually in Bangladesh, Iran and other parts of the world for professional courses. People are ready to invest. We have even signed several Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs). We need to invest augmentation of health sector also. Almost 15000 patients with different ailments visiting other parts of country and abroad because they need best treatment”, Shah said.
He added, “We welcome anybody whosoever would like to invest in J&K”.
When asked the efforts for revival of economical activities since Covid-19 lockdown started in Valley he said, “As lockdown-1 started, we ensured that essential services including rice and flour mills, oil extraction units and others to remain unaffected”, he said adding “We ensured oxygen plants and pharmaceutical units also to carry on their business with one-third manpower and production”.
“We didn’t stop there, but further stepped out. We shifted our attention from essentials to manufacturing. We allowed cement, brick and plywood units to continue their trade while following all SOPs”, he said.
He said that if we talk of industrial sector only, we transit around 50,000 metric tons of fruit to outside UT during one and a half month. Also cherry harvesting came in between, we received around 5,000 metric tons of cherry during lockdown period. In this regard, growers approached us and we facilitated movement passes to them and as such the economic activities during pandemic times started gradually.
Shah while continuing his talk claimed that they fulfill necessary protocol while revival of economic activities in J&K. “During pandemic, we reported some cases of Covid-19 positives from some units including Rangreth. We swung into action, closed down the units and ensured mass testing of the manpower, after that we allowed resumption of activities there”, he added.
He said that as of now 50 percent industrial units have started to resume their business and efforts are on to ensure complete resumption of activities after following SOPs.
When asked about trade deficit since August 5, 2019 and compensation to the traders, Director Industries & Commerce Mehmood Shah said that we have received a detailed document about losses incurred by traders and we have forwarded it to the Government for consideration. (KNS)
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