February 2018 News

Big-ticket Investment Continues To Give Kashmir A Miss

10 February 2018
Greater Kashmir
Saqib Malik

Srinagar: Uncertainty caused by the prevailing situation in Kashmir for more than last three decades of the turmoil continues to be a hurdle for the big-ticket investment to come to the valley. While Kashmir's loss has been Jammu's gain as industry in Jammu continues to flourish with new mega investment projects landing in the division. A document enlisting recent annual 'achievements' of the state Industries and Commerce Department states that 21 proposals worth Rs 3,119 crore investment have been cleared by Apex Project Clearance Committee of the Department. While the information tabled by state Industries and Commerce Minister, Chander Prakash Ganga in the state Assembly on Friday stated that 9 out of the 21 cleared medium and large scale projects have been given a final approval by the government. But not to anyone's surprise, all the nine approved proposals are Jammu-based, the minister informed. Despite lackluster nature of industrial investments in Kashmir, Industries Department is making tall claims of launching a number of initiatives to encourage setup of new units. According to its list of achievements, infrastructure development of existing industrial estates along with setting up of new Common Facility Centers for sectors such as leather and bat industry has been undertaken to boost investments in the state. '13661 kanal of additional land at various places in the state is at different stages of the acquisition process that shall serve as a land bank for industrial growth,' states the document. The Industries Department document states that 'massive' upgradation of infrastructure for industrial estates across the state at a cost of Rs 138 crore has been taken up and completed mostly. 'Establishing Common Facility Centers for leather cluster at IE Lassipora to facilitate entrepreneurs to set up leather goods manufacturing units sanctioned by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India with project cost of Rs 40 crore is in the anvil,' the document states. Kashmir lags behind not just in terms of fresh investments but even industries which are already operational. While Kashmir has almost double the number of industries than Jammu and has even witnessed more industrial units being set-up during last three years, the moolah is flowing towards Jammu more. In Kashmir all the projects are small and operated by locals, while the big and medium projects and outside investment lands in Jammu. According to officials, as of December 31, 2017 Kashmir had 25,432 industrial units which is more than double the number of units in Jammu region. Despite having only 12,500 industrial units, Jammu is attracting fresh big-ticket investments in large numbers. As per information tabled by the industries minister in the state Assembly, lesser number of industrial units were set-up in Jammu during last three years compared to Kashmir but investment figures clocked in Jammu outnumbered the Valley. '1255 industrial units have been set up with an investment of Rs 409.70 crore in Kashmir valley during last three years. In Jammu region, 610 units with an investment of Rs 486.52 crore have been set up during the same period,' Ganga said. The minister had also informed that 1,865 industrial units with an investment of Rs 896.22 crore have been set up in the state during the last three years. Among its other initiatives to improve functioning of industry in Kashmir, the government has also said that common effluent treatment plants are being established in major industrial estates of the Valley with a project cost of Rs 40 crore. Rs 366 crore from the Prime Ministers Development Package is also earmarked for development and upgradation of power infrastructure for industrial estates.