Kashmir Indepth
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‘Closure of PSUs will be a fatal decision’, say MSMEs

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, July 17 (KINS): The proposal to close four public sector undertakings (PSUs) and privatization of J&K Cements has not gone well among industrialists.

Although the authorities are yet to take final call, the government has made a proposal to close the J&K Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (SICOP), J&K Minerals Limited and J&K Industries Limited and privatization of J&K Cements Limited.

In January this year Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, Bipul Pathak issued a communication that the Small Industries Development Corporations (SIDCO) should manage all the industrial estates in the Union Territory to promote large, medium and small scale industries.

It was advised that the SICOP should be closed and all the Industrial Estates presently managed by the SICOP should be transferred to SIDCO.

“J&K Minerals and mineral sites being managed by it, be auctioned as per norms, J&K Cement Ltd should be privatized after assessment of its assets in a transparent manner,” read the order.

Similarly, the J&K Industries Ltd was advised to be closed and the industrial units run by it should be privatized/auctioned, whereas J&K Handicraft (S&E) Corporation should be merged with J&K State Handloom Development Corporation.

However, industrialists and the societies connected to the industry believe that any such decision could prove fatal to the economy.

“The un-employment rate has already reached an alarming stage. To address this problem the government has various schemes in place but still a lot has to be done,” stated by a young entrepreneur.

“With the closure of these PSUs, the straight impact would be on MSMs as they would not get marketing support and raw material assistance,” one of the industrialists wished not to be named told news agency kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

An official of Industries and Commerce said the order was issued on January 14 and has been put on hold due to COVID-19.

“The order has been partially implemented with the merger of Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation,” the official said.

This correspondent has collected the views of a cross section of the society and industrial fraternity, who have strongly resented such order.

It may be placed on record that all such PSUs were incorporated with the strong motive to give a boost to J&K economy and to create the employment avenues for technocrats, graduate engineers, skilled and unskilled persons.

It is also a fact that huge industrialization has taken place over the last three decades in J&K with the creation of industrial estates and specialized cluster zones.

SICOP was created with a sole motive to provide doorstep raw material and marketing facility to registered MSME, testing facility and creation of industrial estates.

The SICOP has been over a period of time, done exceedingly well in providing such facilities.

It may be placed on record that SICOP has never taken budgetary support from the Government and has been meeting its expenses by generating revenue of its own. There are around 25000 souls dependent on this organisation.

As far as J&K Mineral is concerned, they possess huge wealth of minerals across J&K. If these are exploited in the right directions, the economy will get a boost besides the Corporation. While Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation is concerned, they have a huge market available within and outside even the market is available in the foreign countries. If the system is properly put in place our Carpet, Shawls, Handicrafts manufacturers and local artisans will be encouraged. For this we have to explore market avenues.

So far as J&K Cements Ltd is concerned, they have rich deposits of quality lime stone of international repute besides they have sufficient vacant land available.

As per the survey conducted there is a requirement of cement of 30 lacs tones across J&K and Ladakh Union Territories. Out of this state-run factory and MSME’s in the private sector meet one fourth of the requirement. Rest of the share is met by the giant manufacturers from out-side J&K.

“If a thought is given, the Government can install a manufacturing unit with a capacity of 5000 MTs per day at a vacant land at Khrew within the premises of an existing plant by installing a new plant of modern technology. It will go in a long way to cater the cement supplies to the entire Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh for developmental works,” a young entrepreneur said.

All the PSUs have contributed to the Govt. exchequer by depositing taxes, royalties etc. and the units dependent on marketing and raw material have also contributed to the payment of income tax and other related taxes.(KINS)

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