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India Inc fails to enthuse Kashmir business community

Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar, Oct 6, 2012, DHNS: 1:54 IST

J&K student community, however, finds a ray of hope

The visit of India’s elite business leaders to the Valley led by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has failed to enthuse Kashmiri businessmen who termed the visit a “futile” effort.

However, the student community and unemployed youth of the Valley see promises made by corporate honchos as a ray of hope.

President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hameed Punjabi described the visit as a “useless” exercise. “The visit of the business tycoons to Kashmir was a good step. If Tatas, Birlas and others invest here, it will change the scenario of Kashmir. However, we were let down by the visit as no local businessman was taken into confidence,” Punjabi told Deccan Herald.

He said: “Business people have one language and that is business. We have no political mandate but we are the guardians of Kashmir economy”. He claimed that such delegations have been a failure in the past.

President of Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir Zahoor Ahmad Bhat denounced the much-hyped delegation of industrialists accompanying Rahul Gandhi who did not meet any of the local trade and Industry chambers of Kashmir. “The Centre is not serious about the development of industry in J&K,” he alleged.

Bhat said: “The prime minister constituted a task force for recommending measures to be taken for development as well as rehabilitation of the industry in J&K. The task force submitted its report two years ago which is gathering dust in New Delhi. These delegations have always been used for political mileage. Many prominent industrialists in the past made huge promises to invest in Kashmir but never returned after their picnic here.”

The who’s who of India Inc, including Ratan Tata, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Rajiv Bajaj, Azim Premji and Deepak Parekh promised internships, campus placements and a centre for innovation to generate jobs for Kashmiri students during their visit.

“To have an interaction with such high profile businessmen is something that we might not be able to manage even if we go to the World Economic Forum,” said Basharat Ahmad, a Kashmir University student. He said that Ratan Tata’s promise to set up a placement cell at the university, Deepak Parekh’s pledge that HDFC would set up a training centre for financial sector requirements within the university, is a dream come true. “It will help Kashmiri students to get ready for the job market in corporate sector,” he added.

Faiza Bano, a Women’s College student, told Deccan Herald, “Rahul kept his promise made last year by bringing India Inc to Kashmir, it is now their turn to keep the promise.”

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