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Kashmiri traders unhappy with budget

They allege that there are sops for Jammu and Ladakh, but not for Kashmir.

NOOR-UL-QAMRAIN  Srinagar | 12th Jul 2014

ost of the Kashmir Valley's trading bodies and political parties are unhappy with the Union budget, saying that the central government has announced sops for Jammu and Ladakh, but ignored Kashmir because of the upcoming Assembly elections. The government has announced a Rs 500 cr rehabilitation programme for Kashmiri Pandit migrants, a Mega Solar Project for Ladakh, and an IIT for Jammu, but only Rs 30 cr for the Pashmina Development Plan in the Kashmir Valley.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, the Kashmir Economic Alliance and other bodies in the Kashmir Valley accused the BJP of trying to divide Jammu and Kashmir on regional lines. "They have an eye on the coming Assembly elections. They feel they will win a lot of seats in Jammu and Ladakh, so they have tried to focus development in these two regions," said Muhammad Yaseen Khan, Chairman of the Kashmir Economic Alliance. Mehbooba Mufti told The Sunday Guardian that the state should get central funding at par with the North East. "Unfortunately the Omar Abdullah government has failed in the past 6 years to raise important issues of development with the Centre, with the result Kashmir has suffering," Mehbooba said. "The government should have announced an IIT for the Kashmir Valley also. We did not get an AIIMS, while many other states did. J&K should get a health share of the Rs 1,000 cr allocated for border area development."

Mehbooba said that she and the two other MPs from her party will take-up these demands with the government and said that she hopes that Kashmir will not be ignored any more.

Kashmir's tourism industry has also expressed shock and surprise at new budget ignoring this sector while taking huge steps to boost tourism in other states. "There is nothing for us in the new budget. Even upgrades to Srinagar International Airport have been ignored, even though we took up the matter with the minister recently," said Fayaz Bakshi, a Srinagar hotelier.

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