With the Jammu and Kashmir high court’s order to conduct the election within fifteen days, forty-one candidates will be contesting the elections for twenty-one seats of the executive committee of Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI).
The high court on 30 June directed Aijaz Asad, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, to conduct the election while keeping in view the Covid-19 protocols.
KCCI is an apex trade body working for the promotion of business, trade, and economic relations by putting forward the issues of various sectors such as horticulture, tourism, and handicrafts in front of the government.
“The elections are being held between 41 candidates for choosing 21 members of the executive committee. These elected members then choose the position of six office-bearers. These include president, senior vice president, junior vice president, secretary general, joint secretary general and treasurer,” said Nasir Hamid Khan, previous Vice President of the KCCI,
Khan said that a list of candidates has been prepared by an election committee formed by the High Court that includes the names of 41 candidates. A copy of the list is with The Kashmir Walla.
The last KCCI elections were held in 2018 when the body of six office bearers was elected for a term of one year. The next elections were supposed to be held in 2019 while the process was set in motion in July 2019.
The elections due to be held in September 2019 were canceled due to the abrogation of Article 370, followed by two consecutive Covid-19 lockdowns. “The executive committee was given an extension of one year which also expired in September 2020,” said Khan.
Khan, however, said that the elections were postponed as some groups did not want the elections to be held. “Because of that the election process kept getting delayed. The pandemic was also a reason for the delay but in between, the situation got better and other elections were being held. So an election involving just around 1500 people could not have been impossible,” he said. “I believe that it was an excuse.”
Since 2020, all the positions of office bearers have remained empty and thereby, proper functioning of the body has been deeply impacted, said Khan. “Proper functioning requires regular meetings of the executive committee which has not happened since July 2020. There has been no meeting,” he said.
The election committee consists of six members for conducting this year’s KCCI elections. The members of the committee were chosen by the two parties fighting the election this year.
One party suggested three persons, namely Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad of Ahmad Nagar Srinagar, Rauf Ahmad Punjabi of Hawal Srinagar and Nazir Ahmad Mir Fateh Kadal, Srinagar and the other party suggested the names of Abdul Majid Mattoo of Bagh-i-Ali Mardan Srinagar, Abdul Hamid Punjabi of Lal Bazar Srinagar and Mushtaq Ahmad Wani of Hyderpora, Srinagar.
Over the years, KCCI has been dealing with economic issues related to various sectors including horticulture, tourism, and handicrafts. “KCCI deals with all the problems in these sectors including policy making etcetera,” said Khan. The chamber gives its suggestions to the government.”
After a halt in the smooth functioning of KCCI, the new changes will be based on the newly elected body and its agenda. “Currently the important thing is damage limitation because there have been huge losses in every sector,” Khan said.
Khan said that KCCI on its own cannot help the people involved in various sectors but it has tried highlighting the issues of various sectors including mining, tourism, and handicrafts. “Last time we met (LG) Manoj Sinha in August after that a committee was formed for business revival based on our demands. The Committee interacted with stakeholders in J&K and announced a business revival package and provided concessions to people. Many issues were resolved,” he said.
Currently, the two parties fighting the upcoming KCCI election include ‘Kashmir 21’ and ‘Hope 21’. “The changes will depend on their policies,” he said.
The Kashmir Walla tried speaking to Asad, the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, regarding the upcoming election but couldn’t get an answer.