- Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status this month
- Government planned mega investor summit from October 12-14
- Jammu and Kashmir still under severe restrictions, communication blackout
The first Jammu and Kashmir investors' summit, set to be held in Srinagar in October, has been postponed, state government sources said on Thursday.
"It is not the situation. Our priority right now is to smoothen the transition process from state to union territory," a senior officer from the Jammu and Kashmir state administration told NDTV.
According to him, only 8 to 10 companies have come forward with their plans about investments in the state but more companies are keen after recent developments.
"So, time is required for them to visit and discuss opportunities linked to the summit," he added.
Critics, however, say it was a very premature move to announce a summit when so much was happening in the state.
"Communication and transportation is such a big issue. How can a summit be organised in the middle of this?" said a businessman, requesting not to be named.
The government had announced the first such global event in the state between October 12 and 14, days after ending its special status under Article 370 of the constitution earlier this month.
The centre's decisions to scrap the provision and Article 35A, which banned outsiders from owning land in Kashmir, would open the floodgates of investment in the state, the government had said.
However, nearly a month after the move, Jammu and Kashmir remains under an unprecedented security lockdown and a communications blackout with severe restrictions on its residents. Mainstream leaders and hundreds political workers are under detention to prevent unrest, according to the government.
Announcing the investor summit, NK Chaudhary, the Jammu and Kashmir administration's Commerce and Industry Principal Secretary, had been confident that the situation would improve in a month.
"If I did not believe in it, I would not have announced the dates," he had told reporters.
The event was set be held in Srinagar with officials hoping that eight more countries would participate in the summit.
The central government had scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy and split the state into two union territories earlier this month. The revocation of the special status in the constitution meant people there would lose exclusive rights to property, government jobs and college seats and open them up to all Indians.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said it will hear challenges to the order in the first week of October. More than a dozen petitions have been filed in the top court questioning the legality the action, which the government said was aimed at developing the region.
The court also ordered the federal government to submit a response within seven days to a plea by Anuradha Bhasin, the editor of the daily Kashmir Times, who has sought a relaxation of a government ban on telephone and internet services in Kashmir since August 5.
Some landline telephone connections were restored last week. The government has said the restrictions were necessary to maintain law and order, but residents have expressed frustration and anger over the lockdown.
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