Business in Jammu and Kashmir in the past seven decades suffered huge losses due to the militancy, stone pelting, frequent shutdowns and many other related things. It had become tough for the J&K businessmen to survive in the then existing situation. The government has always come up with the schemes, financial assistance, loan waiver and many other things to help the survival of business.
However, the last three years have changed the situation from worse to better for the businessmen here with the government coming up with several favourable measures as well as the facilities that not only eased the business, but also provided benefits to the common man as well.
In one such instance, the government has come up with the warehouses at many places, which businessmen used, and thus ensured safety and protection of their goods.
The promises of warehouses by the successive regimes with the people always proved a hoax as the businessmen never got the facility in the last 70 years of the popular government rule.
Nonetheless, several warehouses have changed the lifestyle and prevented the losses of businessmen in the last three years.
The government has invested hundreds of crores on the establishment of warehouses here with an aim to provide assistance to the J&K businessmen.
One such facility aimed to provide a thrust to exports, has come up at Srinagar’s International Airport here in Humhama area, which is beneficial for the 20 lakh metric tonnes of fresh fruit annual exports from Kashmir worth Rs 7,500 crore including apple, cherry, pears, plum etc. 2.80 lakh metric tonnes of dry fruits worth exported from Kashmir to the rest of the country and various parts of the world is also getting an impetus from the terminal.
Besides, the government has also come up with 23 cold storages across Jammu and Kashmir, which include 9 in Jammu district, 7 in Pulwama, four in Srinagar, two in Samba and one in Kathua.
As the establishment of cold storages has provided benefits to the people here in Jammu and Kashmir, the government is investing Rs 500 crore to establish three more cold storages in the Union Territory.
In order to export apples to different countries throughout the year, the government is coming up with three cold storage clusters with an investment of Rs 500 crore while the work on 15 cold storages is going on in the industrial estate of Aglar Fruit Mandi in Shopian. The 15 cold storages will have the capacity of storing around 66,500 metric tonnes.
According to the apple growers, they prefer to keep their produce in cold storage yet again as the establishment of the units have proved a goldmine for them. Growers from different areas of South Kashmir have claimed in 2020, around 50 percent less produce was kept in cold storage units as compared to 2019, but this year, the demand for apples remained very good throughout the year despite Covid restrictions due to which people earned a handsome amount.
It is only because of the cold storage facility that the quality of apples remained unchanged for a longer period and they simultaneously were able to earn a good amount.
Subzar Ahmad, a grower from Harmain area of Shopian said that usually an apple box of around 15 kg is being sold in between Rs 800 to 1200 but last year, the same apple box which was kept in cold storage units was sold at around Rs 1800 to 2000, due to which more growers are preferring to keep their produce in cold storage units.
The canning facilities set up by the government too are proving fruitful for the businessmen here. The package is always attracting the seller to buy the product and thus in this way, the canning facilities that have come up across J&K is further providing assistance to the businessmen here to catch the eye of the buyer.
Besides government, the Army too has been helping private sector to flourish here. In recent, the Army assisted a business unit where a dozen of women workers had kept their work at halt in absence of the sewing machines. The Army has finally reached the distressed workers and helped them with the sewing machines. There is much more Army has been doing here to ensure that the business flourishes further in J&K.
Moreover, as the facilities come up in ensuring benefits to the farmers and other businessmen, dealing with different kinds of goods in Jammu and Kashmir, there is a need to extend the vision of providing jobs to the unemployed youth as well.
Although the existing business units have a number of young workers, the more private sector footprint would help in adding more youth in the employment list. There have been several private companies that have started their business here, but what can help in eradicating the unemployment further is the more private sector footprint in Jammu and Kashmir, which has become the need of the hour.
(The writer is executive editor Lake City Times and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The rapid spread of Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir has led to the series of stringent measures by the administration...