The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Tuesday convened a meeting with stakeholder for deliberating upon the draft policy and guidelines for houseboats in Dal and Nigeen Lakes.
The meeting was chaired by KCCI senior vice- president Nasir Hamid Khan.
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.
"Whereas 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," they said.
"It would have been highly appreciated if the committee of experts constituted by the High Court would have included representatives of various sections of the stakeholders whose lives and livelihood are dependent on the lakes," they said.
The houseboat owners said that now when final draft has been notified in public domain, the stakeholders have also been asked give their views and comments which have to be consistent with the directions of the High Court and ecological requirements of the lake, within a period of ten 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.
Nasir Hamid Khan assured the participants that their concerns would be effectively advocated before the concerned authorities and the KCCI would seek revision of the ill-advised conditions of the policy.
"A detailed response urging for deletion of the objectionable clauses and other specific amendments to the Draft Policy would be communicated to the concerned authorities in due time," Khan said.
On behalf of the stakeholders Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, Shamim Ahmad Shah, Yaseen Ahmad Tuman, Mohasin Fayaz Bhat, Mohammad Akram Siah, G.R. Siah,. Ab. Majeed Khankashi, Abdul Rashid Kaloo and Showkat Ahmad Pakhtoon participated in the meeting.