ASSOCHAM identifies key sectors for J&K’s development

“Investment flow has gone up 10 times”

“Job opportunities to 25 lakh youths likely”

Jammu: Viewing Jammu and Kashmir as an emerging multi-sectoral commercial hub, leading industry chamber ASSOCHAM on Sunday asked the Centre to sanction a Rs 5,000-crore infrastructure package for SEZs in the State, given its improving security situation.

Besides tourism and hydro power sectors, it has identified food processing, agro and forest-based industries, floriculture, handloom and handicraft exports, gems, leather processing and goods, herbal pharmaceuticals, bulk drugs and hosiery as “most promising areas” to attract investments.

“J&K has emerged as a multi-sector hub of business opportunities. In view of the improved law and order situation, the Government should extend a special package of Rs 5,000 crore to improve the infrastructure for investment flow, in terms of value and volume from domestic and overseas industries,” ASSOCHAM president V. N. Dhoot told reporters here.

He asked the Central and State governments to allow setting up of Special Economic Zones in those area “where there would be no problem of land-holding”.

“Since restoration of normalcy and peace in the State, investment flow has gone up 10 times from US$ 200 million in 2001 to US$ 2,300 million in 2007, which is expected to further accelerate in the next 5 years,” Mr. Dhoot, the CME of Videocon group, said.

Mr. Dhoot submitted to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad a special publication ‘Jammu and Kashmir: Striving for Industrial Revolution’, copies of which were also released to the media.

He said the State could cater to the growing domestic and international demands in various areas and had potential for 15,000 mw hydro power, of which only 4 per cent had been harnessed with 600 mw generation.

The study projected job opportunities to 25 lakh youths with export potential of Rs 13,000 crore, investment of Rs 3,000 crore in agro processing with export potential of Rs 2000 crore by 2012. -- PTI