The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Jammu) has refuted the allegations of the Kashmir-based economic association, which has termed the PM’s Rs 80,000 crore package ‘divisive’.
“In a democratic and secular set-up, things, especially the statement of the Prime Minister, should not be viewed on religious lines. The PM’s package has taken care of all the sections and regions of the state. Though, the package for traders affected by the flood and for refugees of PoK, is not adequate and should be reviewed,” said CCI Jammu president Rakesh Gupta.
The Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) has on Monday termed the package ‘divisive’ and said it is aimed at ‘trifurcation’ of the state. It had even said that Muslim areas of Jammu have been ‘ignored’.
“All that the flood-affected people of Kashmir got was Rs 800 crore for traders and Rs 1,200 crore for damaged houses out of Rs 80,000 crore, but it was hyped as package for the Kashmir. Why Rs 9,090 crore was sanctioned for Zojila tunnel, if people of Kargil were also affected and why package for refugees was also included in it. It’s divisive,” said Kashmir Economic Alliance chairman Mohammad Yasin Khan.
The PM’s package announced on November 7 at a rally in Srinagar has been termed PM’s reconstruction plan and not just reconstruction plan for the Kashmir region only. Rs 9,090 crore for Zojila tunnel was approved by the previous Congress headed UPA government. Kargil is the only Shia majority district of state in the Ladakh region, which remains cut off for about five months.
The package has equal share for Kashmir and Jammu for constructing AIIMs, smart cities ring roads for Jammu and Srinagar cities. The package has earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for tourism development, though its details are not given.
The KEA chairman said the package doesn’t include assistance for the construction of the Mughal road (connecting Poonch with Kashmir) and Vailoo tunnel, connecting Kishtwar with Kashmir. Though, Rs 1,800 crore has been given for the Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road.
Another contention of the KEA is Rs 4,200 crore Kargil-Zanskar road. Zanskar in remote area of Kargil remains cut off for about six months.
The people even now have to trek on snow-covered nullah, called Chadar road, for about a week to reach Leh and then to Kargil. The approval for this road was given in the NDA government headed by then prime minister AB Vajpayee.
“The package doesn’t comprehensively cover the financial losses of Kashmiri traders. We are assured that substantial amount will be given but this is what was announced. People are getting perception that Kashmir has been deliberately ignored and it fuels the rumours and suspicion that attempts are being made to trifurcate the state, which we don’t approve,” said Shiekh Ashiq, ex president Kashmir Chamber of commerce and industry.
The Centre has announced IIT and IIM for Jammu in the last budget and Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked for them. The previous NC-Congress government had approved the financial package for refugees of PoK, Chamb and 1965 war and it was practically approved by the then Congress government though with riders, which have been delinked now.
“It’s highly wrong to see the package from religious lines. Objecting to the Zojila tunnel speaks about the mindset which see state only from the prism of Kashmir and this view point should be corrected and rounded,” said Neeraj Sharma, trader, who suffered by floods in Kashmir as his payments were cleared.