Will new policies cut Jammu & Kashmir’s investment chill?

SRINAGAR : They all look deserted—the roads, the spacious compounds, the rows of factory buildings with their sloping roofs and dour, near-windowless brick walls. The Lassipora Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), 25 km southwest of Srinagar, houses 400 industrial units including 25 large cold storages, intended to encourage agribusiness, especially in apples. And yet, on a weekday afternoon, there are hardly any signs of activity. “Our situation typifies the state of J&K’s industry," said Haji Muzaffar Ahmed, president, IGC, Lassipora. “Work is hampered by both the erratic power supply and the 20 km distance from the nearest national highway, which makes our transportation costs very high."

A dramatic industrial transformation was expected once Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution were abrogated on 5 August 2019, taking away J&K’s special status. The central government held that the special status had been a hurdle for J&K’s industrial development. Non-Kashmiris could now own land and immoveable property in the state, unlike before, which would encourage them to invest. (Mint)

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