Srinagar, Nov 17: In a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) led by President Javed Ahmad Tenga highlighted pressing concerns, particularly the recent devastation of five houseboats, resulting in significant financial losses and tragic loss of lives.
The KCCI, represented by Secretary General Faiz Bakshi and Treasurer Zubair Mahajan, emphasised the alarming decrease in houseboat numbers from 1200 to about 850 over the past few decades.
The destruction of 25 houseboats in fires between 2018 and 2023 and the damage caused by storms and natural calamities further underscored the urgency of the situation.
As per the statement, KCCI urged the Lt. Governor to take immediate short-term measures, including providing relief and rehabilitation, expediting permissions for houseboat repairs, and ensuring a subsidized supply of timber. Additionally, upgrading firefighting services in Dal and Nigeen Lakes was emphasised.
“LG was personally invited by President KCCI to visit the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce exhibition at IITF on November 18, 2023, during the celebration of “Kashmir Divas.” The visit is expected to demonstrate government support for Kashmir handicrafts.”
Furthermore, the KCCI sought the LG’s intervention with Jammu & Kashmir Bank to announce an OTS Scheme at the MSME level, covering borrowers with loans exceeding Rs 50 lakh. This move aims to facilitate the recovery of funds and provide resolution for unsettled cases, fostering a positive environment for the business community.
Addressing another concern, the KCCI requested the LG to facilitate direct flights between Srinagar and Jeddah, providing relief for the more than 30,000 Umrah pilgrims, especially during winter months.
The Lt Governor assured the KCCI that the issues raised would be thoroughly considered. President KCCI expressed gratitude for the LG’s ongoing guidance and support. The LG affirmed his visit to Pragati Maidan on November 18, 2023, signaling commitment to the promotion and encouragement of Kashmir handicrafts, the statement said.