Glasgow [UK], September 9 (ANI): Noting that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved in the last one year post-abrogation of Article 370, Chairman of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kashmir Chapter) Baldev Singh Raina appealed to investors across the world to come and invest in the Union Territory.
In a free-wheeling conversation with Amjad Ayub Mirza, a PoK activist who is based in Glasgow, Raina highlighted how development projects in Jammu and Kashmir have been on the fast track for the last one year and described ways to boost the Union Territory's economy.
"There has been a difference (in the situation) now and one year before. Earlier, a person used to think twice before coming to Jammu and Kashmir. Now, it is an opportunity for investors across the world to come here. I urge them to come to Jammu and Kashmir and set up their businesses and projects to boost the economy," Raina said.
He stated that the policies of the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) have been prepared for every segment be it development, education, horticulture and animal husbandry, terming them as "neat and clean" policies.
"Around 30-40 lakh youth are unemployed in Kashmir. How will they get employment if there is no investment here? We want those big industries should be set up here so that employment gets generated," Raina said.
He said that he recently met LG Manoj Sinha regarding the need to revive and strengthen cottage and small-scale industries in the Union Territory.
"Kashmiri women make shawls at their homes itself. These industries were on the top at one point of time earlier but declined years ago. (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi's dream is that every house is an industry. In this context, we met the LG and suggested various measures to revive these industries," Raina said.
He stressed that Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with a salubrious climate and a system should be formulated so that the business sector flourish in the Union Territory and income can be generated, thereby helping to build the economy stronger.
Talking about strengthening connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina suggested that there should be 150 daily domestic flights to the Union Territory and direct connections with 10 countries.
"We went to Bali recently and studied that place. It's a small town. There are 350 flights per day and nearly 400 five-star hotels in Bali. We told the government that they should take the initiative to start 150 domestic flights and 10 direct connections with 10 countries. Right now, there are 50 flights coming to Jammu and Kashmir from places like Delhi, Jammu and Mumbai," he said.
He informed that work on Chenab bridge, the world's highest railway bridge is expected to be completed in another two years, thereby strengthening connectivity between Udhampur and Banihal.
Speaking about the development projects underway elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina said, "Work on Sonmarg to Leh tunnel is going on. We have also requested for a tunnel to be constructed on Mughal road. On Jammu-Srinagar highway. 80 per cent of phone lines have been set up and only the Ramban-Banihal stretch remains."
He also said he sees Jammu and Kashmir being integrated with the rest of India in the next five years with the completion of these development projects.
Asked about the situation in PoK where infrastructure including education and medical have collapsed completely, Raina said, "India is one country which can take care of other people. We want people to join us as they are lagging behind. We welcome them here." (ANI)