JK loses Rs 500 cr foreign deal, courtesy govt indifference

Oman-based ATTE Pvt Ltd was keen to invest in JK’s marble, granite industry: Stakeholders

Srinagar: Government’s failure to revalidate lease for extraction of marble and granite in favour of private players, has cost the state a foreign deal worth Rs 500 crore.

President, Chamber of Marble and Granite Industry, Abdul Majid Khan said that an Oman-based ATTE Private Limited, had in 2013 shown keen interest to invest in the granite and marble industry of Jammu and Kashmir.
The company, according to Khan, had proposed to send a team of its engineers to the areas in the state where the granite and marble minerals are found.
Khan said after working out all the details and agreeing on all the nitty-gritty, the chamber had signed an MoU with the world renowned company for exploitation of these resources.
“The MOU envisaged technological collaborations between the local stakeholders and the company while requiring the latter to facilitate marketing of our products on international and national markets,” he said, adding that the company had also agreed to train “our manpower.”
“Following the signing of MOU, an expert team of the company headed by its CEO visited Kashmir and Ladakh. However, the team had to return disappointed after the government failed to renew the leases in our favour.”
“The team was impressed by the quality of granite and marble available here,” he said, adding that the Oman-based company had agreed to invest Rs 500 crore for developing mines using latest technologies.
“Besides, they proposed to adopt few marble industries in the state and market their products in the Middle East countries,” he said.
Khan said the MoU was grounded because of the reluctance of the state government to renew the lease.
He said the chamber even approached Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with a plea for renewal of the leases. “But nothing happened. Neither did the CM act not any other minister came to our rescue,” he alleged.
President, Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf told Greater Kashmir that marble and granite industry has been totally neglected by the state government.
“It is a labor-oriented sector which can help create thousands of jobs in Kashmir. But unfortunately the authorities seem least interested to develop the industrial sector in Kashmir. They only make hollow promises and issue rhetorical statements,” Ashaf alleged.