Following the instructions of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), one of the oldest apex trade bodies in the country, is going to for elections on April 26, 2021 at the Amar Singh Club.
The members said the high court has appointed the Srinagar district magistrate-cum-deputy commissioner as the nodal officer to ensure that the elections are held under the proper SOPs necessary in the current pandemic situation.
The main contest is between Kashmir 21 and Hope 21. The elections assume significance in view of the economic slump in the last two years in Kashmir region due to the twin lockdowns --- the first after abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 and the second for Covid-19 last year.
The entire campaign will be done online.
In July last year, the KCCI in its report had said that uncertainty followed by lockdowns since August 5, 2019, after the abrogation of Article 370, has incurred losses to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore to Kashmir’s economy and forced over one lakh job cuts in the private sector during this period. The report had said Kashmir’s economy has suffered losses mainly due to the extension of lockdowns after the abrogation of Article 370.
“The chamber elections are due for the past one year. In fact, there were petitions in the court seeking early elections. We will hold the election maintaining social distancing. The elected chamber will do its best to show a way forward to the business community of Kashmir which has suffered a great deal,” said Wahid Malik, a leading hotelier of the Valley, who represents Hope 21.
“For the past two years, the business community of Kashmir has seen two severe lockdowns. There is a slump in the business and the business community has challenges and pressing concerns. That is why this election is important. The elected chamber will provide us a platform to voice our concerns and will show the way forward,” said Faiz Bakshi, another leading businessman of the Valley and a candidate of Hope 21. He said the elections are being held after the court directions and the deputy commissioner Srinagar would be a nodal officer.
A lone woman member contesting the polls, Nadima Nazir, who represents Kashmir 21, said being an integral part of the Valley and doing business here, seeing it evolve and persevere even after multiple challenges over the past three decades, proves a very imperative point --- the people, the business, the industry --- have weathered the worst that could have been thrown at them and still have the drive in them. “We as a people are extremely diligent and always have a forward-looking attitude and with this idea, we are contesting the polls,” she said. “It is this attitude which needs to be given stimulus to revive what is troubled and take forward the optimism that we all have in us in Kashmir,” she said.
Nazir’s organization Jamal Carpet Industries is one of the largest business houses and the pioneers of Industry in Kashmir. “Our endeavor would be to provide global outreach and create strategic partnerships thus creating competitive solutions,” she said.
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