NC, AIP, traders protest SAC move on J&K Bank, BJP welcomes decision

A day after the Kashmir Economic Alliance threatened to launch an agitation against the decision to turn J&K Bank into a public sector undertaking (PSU), the National Conference (NC) and Awami Ittehad Party protested the move on Monday.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries also extended support to the alliance seeking a rollback of the decision.
The NC workers held a sit-in outside the J&K Bank headquarters demanding immediate rollback of the decision of the State Administrative Council (SAC).

Addressing NC workers, provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said the continuous onslaught on the institutions of the state would prove detrimental to their overall working. “The Governor’s administration should leave emotive administrative decisions to the popular government in the state,” he said.

The Awami Ittehad Party, led by Engineer Rasheed, also held a protest outside the J&K Bank’s corporate office.

Talking to reporters, Rasheed said Governor Satya Pal Malik had no “constitutional and moral mandate to bulldoze the autonomy and credibility of J&K Bank”.

“While no other state government owns a bank, J&K Bank is an exception. Turning it into a PSU means not only eroding its autonomous character but laying a roadmap to make it as worse as other failed PSUs,” he said.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries said J&K Bank could not be treated as any other PSU as it was a listed company and governed under banking laws. “More than 90 per cent of our members are connected with the bank in one form or the other. The state has been brought under Governor’s rule 11 times but not a single Governor tinkered with the functioning of the bank,” a statement issued by he chamber said.

Meanwhile, welcoming the decision of the State Administrative Council to bring J&K Bank under the purview of the RTI and legislature, the BJP said it would go a long way in ensuring transparency in the dealing of public money by premium banking company of the state.

BJP state chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said the step had been taken in the right direction to ensure that people get to know about the functioning of the bank.

“There are lakhs of people in the state who have their money in the bank without even knowing its investments or the list and number of defaulters. There had been serious allegations against its functioning, but the bank had succeeded in hiding the truth under the carpet to date,” Sethi alleged.
He said the party was of the view that the supply of information on request by the bank would ensure not only transparency, but would also boost the confidence of the masses in security of their money.

The spokesperson said the politics being played by vested elements on the issue and raking in Article 370 was not only false, but total misunderstanding of the situation.