Public money in J&K Bank not safe after Governor’s decision: KEA
‘New Delhi bent upon ending JK’s financial independence’
Srinagar: Asserting that public money was no longer safe in J&K Bank after Governor Satya Pal Malik brought it under the government’s full control, the business fraternity Sunday threatened to launch the State-wide agitation if the decision was not withdrawn.
Addressing a news conference here, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Khan termed the Governor’s decision ‘yet another ploy’ of the Government of India (GoI) to erode State’s special status.
Khan said New Delhi was bent upon ‘ending JK’s financial independence’ and making people completely dependent and leaving them at the mercy of the government.
“After GST, this is another onslaught on our financial independence,” Khan said.
On November 21, hours after Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved State Assembly, State Administrative Council (SAC) which he chaired decided to turn J&K Bank Ltd into a public-sector bank.
The move would erode bank’s autonomy and make it accountable to the State legislature.
Khan, who is also the President of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), said all Pubic State Undertakings (PSU) created in the past had proven to be disasters.
“PSUs like J&K State Financial Corporation (JKSFC), Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC), J&K Industries, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) are struggling,” he said. “Besides being a burden on the state exchequer, these PSUs are provided budgetary support every year.”
Khan said owing to the financial crunch, these PSUs over the years had laid off their employees.
“On the contrary, J&K Bank is the only institution since Maharaja’s rule which has generated highest revenue and currently has 14,000 employees,” he said.
“The success of the bank can be gauged from the fact that it is the only Limited company of the State listed with National Stock Exchange,” Khan said.
KEA said the bank had been the backbone of the State’s economy with an exposure of over Rs 25,000 crore to the people of J&K.
“Other nationalised banks working in the State don’t even contribute 10 percent of what J&K Bank contributes,” he said.
“After so much success, what has prompted Governor to change the entire structure of the bank is hard to grasp?” Khan said.
He said J&K Bank had its own audit team and works under the guidelines of RBI and “if there is a need of transparency, the bank has its own mechanism”.
Khan said the present dispensation was a “make-shift arrangement” which was required to handle only the daily affairs of the State.
“Such decisions need to be taken by the popular government which is accountable to public. The Governor is not meant to pass such orders,” Khan said.
KTMF President said if the Governor does not withdraw the decision at the earliest, the business fraternity would be left with no choice but to start a State wide-agitation.
“We will reach out to all stakeholders and come on streets to save our State and institutions,” he said.