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KCCI Appeals to Lt. Governor for Urgent Relief: Houseboat Tragedy and Industry Challenges in Focus

KCCI's Agenda for Change: Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha Addressed on Houseboat Crisis and Flight Connectivity for Umrah Pilgrims

17-11-2023 :  A delegation from the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), led by its president Javed Ahmad Tenga, convened with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhawan on Thursday to address pressing issues concerning the Kashmir industry. During the meeting, the KCCI highlighted the recent devastating incident of five houseboats being gutted, resulting in substantial financial losses and tragic loss of lives. The KCCI team, including Secretary General Faiz Bakshi and treasurer Zubair Mahajan, underscored the critical issue of the diminishing number of houseboats, which has decreased from 1200 to about 850 over the past few decades.

The KCCI brought to the attention of the Lt. Governor that a significant number of houseboats—25 between 2018 and 2023—had been destroyed in massive fires, while an additional 207 were damaged or destroyed due to storms, drowning, and other natural calamities between 2009 and 2023. Furthermore, the necessary permissions for repairs, renovation, and reconstruction of these houseboats are still pending. The KCCI urged the Lt. Governor to take immediate short-term and long-term measures for the relief and rehabilitation of those affected.

The proposed measures included immediate Relief and Rehabilitation, a single-window system for permissions for the reconstruction of houseboats and other structures, subsidized rates for timber from the State Forest Corporation on a Fast Track basis, and an upgrade of fire-fighting services in Dal and Nigeen Lakes.

In addition to addressing the aftermath of the tragic incident, the KCCI appealed to the Lt. Governor to intervene with the Jammu & Kashmir Bank in implementing an One-Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme at the MSME (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) Level. This proposed scheme would cover borrowers with loans exceeding 50 lakhs, facilitating the recovery of funds for the bank and providing an opportunity for previously unsettled cases to be resolved.

The KCCI also shed light on the transportation challenges faced by more than 30,000 Umrah pilgrims, particularly during the winter months, due to the absence of direct flights from Srinagar to Jeddah. The Lt. Governor was urged to leverage his influence to facilitate direct flights between Srinagar and Jeddah, a move that would significantly ease the travel burden for Umrah pilgrims and contribute to the overall betterment of the community.