Srinagar, April 20 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Indian government’s order to suspend trade across the Line of Control has undone one of the major Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan since the 1947 partition.

The cross-LoC trade was officially thrown open in October 2008. The trade takes place four days a week at two trade facilitation centres at Salamabad in Baramulla district and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch.

Based on barter system, the trade has currently around 280 traders actively exchanging goods with their counterparts across the LoC since 2008. The suspension order has most affected these traders as they have huge liabilities pending for goods purchased from the market and also with their counterparts across the LoC.

Hilal Turki, Chairman of cross-LoC traders’ association, in an interview in Srinagar said that the suspension order had hit them economically and it would be challenging for them to again trade goods in the future if the suspension persists.

The figures of last decade suggest that it has grown exponentially creating a beeline of jobs for more than 1.7 lakh people directly and indirectly. Besides, 70,000 trucks were engaged in the trade resumed on the Valley’s erstwhile Jehlum valley road in the Uri-Muzaffarabad and Jammu’s Poonch-Rawalakote more than 60 years after the 1947 partition. The trade through both the trade facilitation centres stood at Rs 8,476 crore.

The Indian government suspended the trade citing its “misuse” by the traders.

Hilal Turki, a trader himself, suggested that the trade should be made transparent by installing full body truck scanners, which can stop influx of any illegal consignment through the route.

Meanwhile, officials in New Delhi said that trading of 21 items like red chili, mangoes, bananas, embroidery items, herbs, tamarind, cumin, almonds, dry dates, dry fruits and pistachio would be hit following the indefinite suspension of cross-LoC trade.


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