‘Allow 21 items in LoC trade or we will protest outside PM’s house’
Traders’ 1-week ultimatum to govt
Srinagar, Jan 18: Taking a strong note of withdrawing five items from the list of 21 allowed for cross-LoC trade, the traders today gave a one-week ultimatum to the government to restore the items or else “we will suspend the trade and proceed to Delhi to protest before the PM’s house.”
The traders said they would wait for a week for the government to act failing which “we will suspend the trade and go to Delhi to protest before the house of PM.”
At press conference here today the traders said the government instead of enhancing the list of tradable items had withdrawn five items from the list of 21 that were earlier allowed for trade.
They said placing the five items in negative list had caused huge business and financial losses to them.
Representative of the Salamabad-Chakoti Traders’ Association, Hilal Ahmad Turki said this week the traders shall decrease the volume of goods to be exported to AJK as a mark of protest.
“We have decided that instead of 100 odd trucks, we shall dispatch only 20 across the LoC this week, which means 10 trucks on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday,” he said.
“But if government doesn’t act in our favour, we shall protest outside the Prime Minister’s house in Delhi,” Turki told Greater Kashmir.
Demanding amendment in the Standard Operating Producers set for the cross-LoC trade, the traders held a day long protest at Parimpora Fruit Market, Srinagar, on Monday.
The traders said the current SOP was proving to be a major hurdle in the smooth functioning of the LoC trade. “There are several loopholes in the SOP, so we want the government to make some changes in it,” said Turki.
“For instance, if 50 odd trucks are to be received from the other side, these have to be unloaded only within a couple of hours as per the SOP. So naturally trucks are unloaded in a haphazard manner to meet the deadline, by which our goods are spoiled and we suffer huge losses,” Turki said.
“We are facing a lot of difficulties with such time restrictions. Therefore, we should be allotted more time for offloading the trucks. Besides, number of trading days should be increased from two to four in a week,” he said. He alleged that such an SOP was formed by the governments of India and Pakistan “only to restrict the trade.”
The traders also demanded that the governments from both the sides should lift the ban on some “major” items, including Pakistani moong (green gram), garlic, dates, raisins, ginger and some other items.
Besides, they said, the number of tradable items should be increased, which according to current SOP is 21.
“Then there are problems of infrastructure at trade facilitation centres, which should be sorted out on priority,” they said.
They further demanded export license for the bonafide traders.
“If something is done on the ground, then we could understand that government is really doing something for us,” said Turki.
He said there was a frequent but unnecessary involvement of the Quarantine Amritsar in the cross-LoC trade, “where as their sole job is to check fungal infection in the items.”
“We feel they want to sabotage this trade. Since this is an inter-state trade, various exporters in India are also trying to stop this trade,” he said. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured them of promoting the LoC trade further, “however we have seen nothing such on ground.”
“Besides, chief minister has been making tall claims regarding encouraging private sector, but this is what is happening actually,” he said.
Turki said the cross-LoC trade was providing bread and butter to 1000 families, “so government should consider this fact.”
The traders also expressed disappointment with the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Traders’ Federations, which, they said, had not helped them enough with regard to the LoC trade.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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