Draft Policy framed without consulting stake holders: KCCI

KCCI holding meeting with houseboat owners at Srinagar on Tuesday.
KCCI holding meeting with houseboat owners at Srinagar on Tuesday.

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, June 30: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) today alleged that Government has framed Draft Policy for Houseboats in Dal and Nigeen lakes, without consulting stakeholders.
In a meeting of the KCCI chaired by Nasir Hamid Khan, senior vice president, KCCI and attended by stakeholders including Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, Shamim Ahmad Shah, Yaseen Ahmad Tuman, Mohasin Fayaz Bhat, Mohammad Akram Siah, GR Siah, Abdul Majeed Khankashi, Abdul Rashid Kaloo and Showkat Ahmad Pakhtoon, the members expressed resentment over non-consutlation by the Government.
The representatives of the Houseboat owners expressed concern at the framing of the final draft of the policy without any discussions with the stakeholders who would be directly impacted by the implementation of the policy. The policy has been circulated amongst various Government departments and also the Committee of experts constituted by the High Court, the basic stakeholders have been denied an opportunity to incorporate their genuine concerns in the policy so far. Now, when final draft has been notified in public domain, the stakeholders have also been asked give their views which have to be consistent with the directions of the High Court and ecological requirements of the lake, within a period of 10 days.
As a consequence, the draft policy has many clauses which adversely effect the hassle free registration and operation of the houseboats. Although in the aims and objectives of the policy the Government declares that it is to provide a sustainable source of living for the houseboat owners/shikara wallas, a cursory perusal of the draft policy reveals otherwise, they observed.
They said harsh and unworkable conditions are required to be fulfilled for the houseboats to be eligible for registration and operation. A plethora of `No objection certificates’ have been prescribed for registration/operation and disproportionate penalties have been suggested.
They said Kashmir is undergoing the 11th month of a lockdown. The financial and job losses have crippled the fragile sector. The introduction of the policy at a time when the Government itself has extended a helping hand to the sector by announcement of a three month intervention of Rs 1,000 a month for Houseboat owners and Shikara wallas has caused widespread panic amongst the houseboat owners. They said that at a time when most of the population was finding it difficult to earn a livelihood, the reason for rushing through the Houseboat policy was hard to comprehend.