An year ago, when I was given the opportunity to occupy the prestigious chair of the President of this Chamber, the economic atmosphere was not conducive to do business. The winds of recession had clouded the trade and industrial scene, not only in the Country but globally. Today, we in India have mostly come out of the difficult fiscal situation but some parts of the world are still battling the depression. Thanks are due to various policies implemented by the expert economists in the Country.

The active and experienced team of Office Bearers and the enthusiastic Members of the Managing Committee of this Chamber stood with me shoulder to shoulder right from the day one till this issue goes to print, inspite of the rough weather that we faced during my installation at the helm of affairs in the Chamber. Take the problem of restoration of water supply to many industries in Udyambag or unpardonable disruption in the power supply to the City or the issue of increase in crimes due to which businessmen were under tremendous gloom and helplessness, the Chamber, through its Managing Committee Members, were always in the forefront with an intention to address and solve the problem.

To educate the Members of the Chamber many seminars and workshops were organised on various topics ranging from that on Weights & Measures, e-Sugam under VAT, e-filing of returns of Income Tax Deducted at Source, e-payment under Central Excise, A two days workshop on export documentation was organised for the benefit of the Exporters of Belgaum.

Due to continuous follow-up the long pending 110 KV Sub-station at Udyambag was made operational by HESCOM authorities. Similarly, due to watchful eye of the Chamber, KSSIDC was forced to postpone the auction of shops in Industrial Area, the bid price for which was exorbitant and would have enhanced the prices of real estate in the area, beyond control. The Chamber took up the matter of biased Self Assessment Scheme with the Minister of Urban Development, Government of Karnataka who was convinced with the argument made by the Chamber and instructed his department officials to organise a meeting with the representatives of the Chamber for detailed discussion and early resolution.

During my Presidentship I kept on receiving words of encouragment from our own Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly. Mr Suresh Angadi, Dr Prabhakar Kore, Mr Abhay Patil and Mr Sanjay Patil allowed me to hold their finger whenever I needed to walk with a political iron hand. Thank you, Sirs and look forward to your continuous support to me and the Chamber, as always.

Mr Murugesh Nirani, The Minister of Medium and Large Industries, Government of Karnataka visited the Chamber and during the interactive meeting learnt about various problems which existed in the industrial belt. Since, he was convinced with the requests made, he immediately announced a grant of Rs. 2.00 crores to take care of the issues. We thank you, Sir, for the instant decision made by you. Now it is upto us to ensure that the grant reaches us fast and is utilised judiciously.

We had an opportunity to meet Mr Sureshkumar, Minister for Urban Development, Government of Karnataka and thank him for the patient hearing that he gave to the delegation during which we narrated to him the anomalies in the Self Assessment Scheme. We thank you, Sir, for the time spent with us.

We had number of meetings with Mr Basavraj Bommai, District Minister during which many of the problems of the City were enumerated. We appreciate the actions taken by him but request him to spare some time from his busy schedule exclusively for an interactive session with the Members of the Chamber. We take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to him.

It was an event to remember when Mr B. S. Yediyurappa, beloved Chief Minister of Karnataka found time to visit the Chamber to meet the Members and discuss on various long pending issues related to the improvement required for the City. A request was made by the Chamber to sanction Rs. 50.00 lakhs for the improvement of the Chamber’s existing building at Udyambag, Belgaum. We profusely thank you, Honorable Sir, for the kind gesture.

Our Chamber works with limited staff due to obvious reasons and whenever a call is given, have not remained behind but positively responded. Thank you my colleagues in the staff.

All in all, the year by-gone, was an eventful year and it will be cherished by me all through my life. I cannot forget the co-operation and timely assistance & guidance extended to me by the Office Bearers of the Chamber and the Members of the Managing Committee. It would be practically difficult to express in words my gratitude to every one of them through this column. I hope all the Managing Committee Members will excuse me if I thank them collectively. Thank you all. Let us rededicate ourselves to make this Chamber a much more stronger so that the issues related to smooth businesses could be addressed and redressed suitably in the interest of the Members of the Chamber.

Friends, I am really overwhelmed by the love and affection that was showered upon me during my one year tenure as the President of this illustrious Chamber by one and all. The time, though painful, has come to relinquish the collar of the President and hand it over to a worthy businessman from the City, Mr Jaideep Siddannavar. I congratulate him and wish him and his team all the very best. Also, I assure him of my best assistance during his Presidentship.

With warm personal regards,

Shreenath Deshpande.