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We owe you money, not honour: Kashmir business bodies issue rare joint SOS

Ziraat Times News Network

Srinagar: In a rare and significant development, Kashmir’s 21 business, commerce, trade and manufacturing associations have come together and issued a joint statement, expressing their deep dismay about the distressed business climate in J&K and their “harassment” at the hands of certain banking institutions.  

In an advertisement published in several newspapers prominently, the joint statement begins with the heading: “We owe you money, not respect and honour.”

“We and our families don’t deserve to be harassed, persecuted and troubled in the name of Asset Possession”, the statement alleged that the banks were threatening them with asset possession. They asked the  banks to be “hunble and compassionate while making recoveries.”

The joint statement issued by the Shehr-i-Khass Traders Coordination Committee, Kashmir Traders & Manufactures Federation, Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir, Kashmir Economic Alliance, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kashmir Hoteliers Club, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (KHARA), J&K Private School Coordination Committee, Kashmir Joint Coordination Committee of Druggists and Chemists, All Kashmir Tour and Travels Association, Houseboat Owners Association, Shopian Fruit Mandi Association, Kashmir Gold Association, Artisans Rehabilitation Forum, Kashmir Economic Forum, Jammu & Kashmir Hajj and Umrah Companies said that after August 2019, Kashmir’s business community “was completely devastated and exhausted.”

Speaking to Ziraat Times on Friday eveningseveral business leaders expressed concern for lack of empathy by J&K and union governments in understanding the difficult circumstances of business communities in Kashmir region. 

“It seems the main focus of some banking institutions is the takeover of our physical assets and invoke SARFEASI Act”, said a business leader. 

Jammu & Kashmir’s economy, particularly that in Kashmir region, has suffered acute losses in the aftermath of August 5, 2019 due to unfavorable travel advisories, Internet clampdown, curfews, spontaneous shutdowns and frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway. 

Loss assessments being done independently suggest that Kashmir may have weak suffered a loss of Rs 32,000 crore since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 due to the ensuing difficult circumstances.

“Our survival is under threat and our humble submissions to the banks is that at once stop calling us defaulters. We believe there may be two types of defaulters; willful defaulters, which we as community strongly protest to be called or named as; circumstantial defaulters, which we have been forced to be,” the business organizations said.

The statement further said: “We as respectable and responsible community are aware of the fact that we have to repay the banks but all we want is that we will pay with respect and honour.”

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