CONFUSION, CONFRONTATION MARK TRANS-LoC TRADE
Srinagar, May 21: It was a week of confusion and confrontation for the cross-LoC trade.
On the very first day of the trade on Tuesday custom officers from this side raised objections to import of few varieties of medicinal herbs.
Of the 27 trucks that rolled down from the Chakoti Trade Centre on Tuesday, a dozen of trucks were laden with medicinal herbs, including Ajawain and Mulathi.
“Two of the new officials posted at the custom office did not allow unload of these herbs reasoning that they did not fall in the Standard Operating Procedure, and hence directed the trucks to go back,” said Muhammad Ashraf Wani, trade facilitation officer Salamabad and general manager DIC Varmul.
Wani added the Quarantine experts, however, said the import of these herbs was genuine as per the SOP.
“The traders expressing annoyance over the issue did not let us unload other trucks as well, so all the trucks had to be sent back,” he said.
On next day, he said, 54 trucks were received from PaK that included 27 trucks of Tuesday as well. “Even as the custom officers had by now granted the permission for the import of the said herbs, the Immigration Department at the Kaman Post did not allow these trucks to enter the TFC Salamabad, citing that entry permit was valid for only one day,” he said and added, “we unloaded the rest of the vehicles at the TFC by 4 PM, where as the 27 vehicles remained at the Kaman Post.”
This was not the end to it. The PaK traders, meanwhile, did not let the vehicles from the Valley go back, saying, unless all of their vehicles were unloaded, they won’t let the vehicles go. “Since Thursday was not a trading day, we knew that we could face a lot of problems if the vehicles continued to be held by the traders, so we contacted the TFO Chakoti, Deputy Commissioner Varmul, Army and other officials and we got one-time relaxation and hence those 27 trucks were allowed in,” said Wani.
“And then, PaK traders also released our vehicles. All the trucks reached at the terminal at 2:30 AM and crossed the line. We offloaded the trucks during the night and sent them back at 4 AM,” he said.
Meanwhile, the traders complained that their goods after being unloaded for screening were kept in open for long and got damaged in rains, “due to which we have suffered losses worth lakhs of rupees.”
“There are sheds at the TFC, which they could have used to prevent any damage to the goods. We fail to understand why the agencies are creating hurdles for this trade,” said Hilal Ahmad Turki, spokesperson of the Salamabad-Chakoti Traders’ Association.
“We request to the government to take stock of the situation and give us compensation for our losses,” he said.
Meanwhile, amid all chaos trade worth Rs 6.2 crore was conducted between two parts of Kashmir this week.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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