Art 370 gone, city bizmen open to investments in J&K

Ludhiana: Following the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir by the Union government, city’s leading business groups have expressed keenness to explore investment opportunities in the state, given that the Centre comes out with a comprehensive industrial policy at the earliest and there is peace in the Valley.
The industrialists are keeping a close watch on day-to-day developments in the state. Hailing the move on Article 370, top businessmen from different sectors are of the view that this would make the situation more conducive for doing business in the state, which had lagged behind the rest of India in industrialization.
The businessmen have also urged the government to ensure peace in the state and also see that the interest of the local population is on the government’s topmost agenda.
Be it garment, textiles, food or the bicycles sector, businessmen from different sectors said setting up of industries in J&K can change the entire scenario in the Union Territory.
They said if the government is ready with a comprehensive industrial policy, they would be in a better position to take a call.
SP Oswal, chairman, Vardhman Group, said, “This is a great and historic decision, and so far, the government has been able to manage the situation in J&K very well. With the abrogation of Article 370 now, investors will have a level playing field, as they will be in the position to set up their business easily, buy land for their industry and even employ people from J&K and outside. There will be equality as is the case in the country.”
“In my opinion, Jammu will get more influx of industries from across sectors, and Kashmir will get the local products industry and big tourism projects. As far as our group is concerned, we are always open to investing in J&K, but are waiting for things to settle down first,” he added.
Onkar Singh Pahwa, CMD, Avon Cycles Limited, said, “This is a great move for the country and the state as well, which could not happen earlier. Prime Minister Modi has taken a step in right direction, and we wish it turns out to be the best for people of J&K. New businesses will definitely prosper in the valley with this move, and existing businesses like tourism too will see expansion and more income generation. But one aspect which needs to be taken care of at any cost is maintaining peace in the state. As far as investing in J&K is concerned, we will be more than happy to do it, but it is too early to say anything.”
Jawahar Lal Oswal, chairman-cum-managing director, Nahar Group of Companies, said, “Kashmir is the hub of handicrafts. But unfortunately, due to the several reasons like unrest in the valley, craftsmen of Kashmir have been unable to do business and make a decent living. With Article 370 gone, we are hoping the ground situation changes there, and by involving enterprising people from the valley, we will be able to set up allied industries where local raw material and local manpower could be used to bring an industrial revolution in the state.”
“We are looking forward to the announcement of a comprehensive industrial policy by the Union government. Simultaneously, we will also do our own research to see which projects we can set up in the state,” he added.
Akshay Bector, CMD, Cremica Foods Limited, said, “It’s a good development, which will hopefully lead to a good business environment. One of the biggest things hurting Kashmir’s economy is the lack of apple storage, processing, and marketing infrastructure, unlike Himachal, where a lot of investment in this over the years has led to a huge increase in value for farmers. We are building facilities in our food park in Una to process apples and are glad these actions will lead to opening and developing of existing infrastructure.”
Vijay Munjal, chairman, Hero Exports, said, “After the abrogation of Article 370, people can invest in businesses in J&K, but to give confidence to investors, the government should set up business parks in the state with some tax incentives. Furthermore, development of all areas of J&K should be ensured so that not just a single area gets the benefit of industrialization. We would like to invest in the state as soon as business conditions become conducive.”
Potential investment sectors
* Electric transformers
* Automobiles, electronics and electricals
* Agro-based industries
* Service industry
* Cold storage plants
* Food industries
* Thermo/plastic ware
* Mineral water
* Agricultural implements
* Steel fabrications
* Horticulture
* Cement tiles
* Sports goods
* Fruit juices
* Walnuts and almonds
* Minerals extraction
* Plywood industries
* Cotton and silk
* Tourism and hotels
* Radio taxi
* Health spas
* Wooden furniture
NUMBER OF MSMEs
1. Anantnag: 4,560
2. Pulwama: 2,997
3. Srinagar: 10,313
4. Budgam: 4,297
5. Baramulla: 4,369
6. Kupwara: 1,917
7. Shopian: 169
8. Bandipura: 199

9. Gandherbal: 202
10. Kulgam: 226