Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kashmir Festival 2013 Planned in the USA

After a successful business trip to the U.S. in 2012, the Kashmir Chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII-K), plans another visit to the U.S. in 2013

JK Chapter of CII to Hold Kashmir Festival in America

Mukeet Akmali (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: The Confederation of Indian Industry (JK Chapter) will organize ‘Kashmir Festival’ in the United States of America to promote the rich cultural heritage and tourist destinations of Jammu and Kashmir. After their return from the business trip to the US, the young business delegates from Jammu and Kashmir here said that the visit was “fruitful” and “educative”.

Delegation leader, Waseem Trumboo who is chairman CII JK State Council said: “We will organize Kashmir Festival for a week in the USA to promote our state and create awareness about the rich cultural heritage, scenic locales and adventurous tourist destinations of the state.” He said it will help “us in to woo tourists to Kashmir and boost our hospitality sector.” The delegation also discussed sharing of cold storage technology. “It would be big plus point to our horticulture sector. We lack infrastructure like cold stores, etc here,” he said.

Notably, the delegation during their stay in the US visited popular ski destination of Aspen, Colorado where the group was welcomed by the local business associations and appreciated CII for bringing the first ever delegation from Jammu & Kashmir. According to the delegates they also discussed the possibility of setting “sister-city relationship between Aspen and Srinagar.” “The US skiers had all praise for quality of snow in Gulmarg and Srinagar,” they said.

“It was a great learning experience interacting with various chambers and business associations in USA. It was encouraging to see the people in the US showing interest in our culture and tourist destinations,” Asif Iqbal Burza, Chairman, CII Kashmir Zone, and Director Senator Inns PVT Ltd and Ahad Hotels and Resorts, said. Farooq Amin, Director Sales and Marketing Kanwal Foods and Spices Private Limited, who formed part of the delegation said that the visit was “fruitful” and “good learning experience”.

“We interacted with investors who showed their keenness to invest here. We also talked about joint ventures. The investor in USA also showed their keenness in investing in transport sector of the state,” Amin said. “We also had meeting with Farooq Kathwari- a renowned US-based Kashmiri businessman who showed his willingness to invest in the state,” he said.

Sheikh Imran, Director, Kashmir Sunsilk Industries Private Limited said it was really good to connect with the people in the US. “We had meeting with Exim Bank officials who assured us of providing facilities for raising loan from the bank. We had also interaction with people of Hollywood and Intel,” Imran said.

Suhail Manzoor Guna, Managing Director Saifco Hotel said: “We learned a lot from our visit and it was a great experience. It gives opportunity for local business to get the exposure and learn more about the trade and other aspects of business.”

Vivek Bhardwaj, who was managing the delegation, told Greater Kashmir over phone that the objective of delegation was to explore mutual trade opportunities for industry and showcase strength of Jammu and Kashmir. Bhardwaj said the key sectors identified for investment in J&K were hydroelectric power generation, infrastructure, tourism, food processing, IT/ ITES, Healthcare, Waste management and Water Treatment.

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