Hajj and Umrah companies in Jammu and Kashmir have urged Lieutenant Governor (LG) administration to initiate certain steps to help the revival of their business activities, which are at a complete halt since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year.
A delegation of the Jammu Kashmir Association of Hajj & Umrah Companies (JKAHUC), an amalgam of 200 registered companies, met Baseer Ahmad Khan Advisor to LG on Friday. The delegation comprised of the office bearers of JKAHUC was led by its president Sheikh Feroz Ahmad. They informed Khan about the problems faced by the Hajj and Umrah companies since last year.
In the absence of any business activity, and prevailing uncertainty about the span of the Covid pandemic has caused huge losses to these companies, and the situation is subsequently forcing them to go for the layoffs. Since each company has a staff strength of 15 to 20 employees and it is becoming impossible for them to hold the staff despite the unpredictable situation. Sacking employees of the companies would impact hundreds of concerned families, and it would also indicate hopelessness, which JKAHUC wants to evade in these testing times. In the present scenario, the companies are not even able to pay the rents and other dues of their offices. In other states, governments have requested the landlords for waving off the post lockdown (March 22, 2020 onward) rents to their tenants. However, in the case of J&K, no such suggestion has come from the government.
The delegation suggested administration that instead of some relief packages it would be better to provide soft loans to the Hajj and Umrah companies so that they would be in a position to retain the staff and maintain their workplaces to keep them ready for a better future. Since the companies lack the working capital to meet the basic needs and requirements, the administration can lend a helping hand to them in terms of providing soft loans, which will eventually help keep the wheel of the overall economy moving.
The advisor to LG gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured every possible help on behalf of the government. He also promised to facilitate an in-person meeting Lieutenant Governor with the JKAHUC delegation in the near future to discuss the suggestions.
Besides JKAHUC president Sheikh Feroz, the other members of the delegation were included Parvez Ahmad Bhat, Vice President; Muhammad Younis, Secretary-General; Mohammad Salim Jabbar, Media Secretary; Muhammad Ismail, Treasures; and Muzamil Baba, senior JKAHUC member.