New Delhi — In a seminar held today in the national capital under the aegis of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on the subject, “Kashmir Devastation-Ways of Relief and Re-development”, traders affiliated to this and other groups not of the corporate sector took a pledge to extend all possible help to people of Jammu & Kashmir who have been victims of the recent floods.
The participants, in a unanimous voice, urged both Union and State governments to prepare a well-planned strategy for re-development of the affected areas and assured that the entire non-corporate sector, including traders, shall cooperate with the government.
A resolution passed in course of the seminar said there was a great need of creation of employment opportunities in Kashmir & Jammu Province in the wake of the devastation by floods. The resolution further said that the people of the country should be encouraged to set up trade, commerce and industry in the State. For such a step, if needed Article 370 may be scrapped, the resolution said.
The groups urged the government to declare a tax holiday for Jammu & Kashmir for 5 years. Since tourism is the main source of revenue in the State, the traders said, the government should allow 50% fare subsidy on air and rail travel to the affected region to encourage flow of money into the State. They requested the government to waive Central Sales Tax on all goods sent to Jammu & Kashmir, too.
A grant of Rs 1,00,000 be given to every adult citizen of the flood affected area as compensation for earning opportunity, the resolution urged. Traders in the State should be given soft loans with long term repayment schedule to restart their business, participants of the seminar said.
The traders’ groups urged the government to direct insurance companies to settle the claims of traders of the State by clearing 90% of the claim amount on an ad hoc basis. Banks should be directed to convert all financial assistance given to traders into interest-free term loans and the government should waive off all such loans by way of grant, the traders proposed. A single window clearance system should be set up by banks for speedy disbursement of fresh loans for rehabilitation of trade and commerce in Jammu & Kashmir so that, with less paper work and time, the traders and businessmen of the State are rehabilitated fast.
On the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CAIT has further made an appeal to traders and trade bodies across the country to send maximum donations to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. As an immediate measure of relief, the CAIT intends to set up its relief base camp at Jammu in association with Chamber of Commerce, Jammu. The group has appealed to trade bodies all over the country to send food, medicines, blankets, tent and other items of necessity to the Jammu camp from where small packets shall be prepared and distributed in Kashmir with the help of the CAIT’s Kashmir Chapter and Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Association and in Jammu Province through Chamber of Commerce, Jammu. Shortly, a delegation of CAIT will visit flood affected areas.