Allow trading of cement via Line of Control: Traders
‘Move Will Help Regulate Fast Rising Prices’
MUKEET AKMALI/NISAR AHMAD THOKAR
Srinagar/Muzaffarabad, June 14: In a bid to remove barriers in cross LoC trade, business fraternity from both sides of Kashmir has unanimously demanded inclusion of more items in the ‘tradable items list’ approved by India and Pakistan. Traders have specifically laid stress on inclusion of cement in the list which at present includes 22 items.
Muhammad Yaseen Khan, Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance - an amalgam of hoteliers, traders and transporters - told Greater Kashmir that prices of cement are increasing day by day in the state and ‘we need to put lid to it.’
“We think the best solution to this problem is to import cement from Pakistan via Muzaffarabad Road. Rate of cement in Pakistan is much cheaper than in Srinagar and there are many cement manufacturing industries. We appeal to both Governments to include cement in tradable items list,” Khan said.
According to experts, the cost of best quality cement produced in Pakistan ranges from 400 to 430 Pakistani rupees per 50 KG bag in local market, equivalent to about 250 Indian rupees. Its factory rate would be 7-10% less than the retail price. “Both the governments should increase the number of items in the list, in fact government should make a ‘negative list’ according to which number of tradable items will be increased except few items included in the negative list set by both India and Pakistan. It will act as Confidence Building Measure,” Khan said.
Pakistan has a thriving cement industry and is known for producing best quality cement. There are lots of cement manufacturers in the country, however Maple Leaf, Deewan Cement, Chirat Cement, Fauji Cement, Lucky Cement, Attock Cement, DG Cement, Pioneer Cement, Portland Cement and Kohat Cement are the most popular brands and well known for their superior quality.
Current rates of cement in Pakistan are: Lucky Cement 433 Pak rupees equivalent to 253.1558 Indian rupees, Best Way Cement 431 Pak rupees equivalent to 251.9865 Indian rupees, DG Khan Cement 435 Pak rupees equivalent to 254.2791 Indian rupees, Maple Leaf Cement 435 Pak rupees equivalent to 254.2791 Indian rupees.
Dr Mubeen Shah, President, Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKJCCI) said: “We appeal to governments of India and Pakistan to increase the number of cross LoC tradable items.”
“Our view is that instead of having positive list of 22 items, both governments should make a negative list in which only few items will barred for trading, while other items should be included in the tradable list,” Shah said adding, “We have raised this issue with the Union Home Secretary during his recent visit.”
“Prices of cement are soaring day by day, we should hold discussion with cement manufacturers here and with their consent trade cement from Pakistan which is much cheaper than here,” he said.
Local dealers in Kashmir are also pitching hard for the inclusion of cement in the list of tradable items. “Rising prices of cement has affected common people very badly and if we can get cement from Pakistan at much cheaper rates then governments of India and Pakistan should sit together and include this item in the list of tradable items for the benefit of people in both countries. It would not only provide cement at cheaper rates in Srinagar, but also increase sales volume of Pakistani cement manufacturers,” Bashir Ahmad, a local cement dealer said.
Traders from Pakistan Administered Kashmir are also demanding that cement should be included in the tradable items list.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Zulfiqar Abbassi, former President of Trans-LoC Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Since the initiation of historic CBM, it has been traders’ foremost demand to the governments of India and Pakistan to include more goods in the list of 22 traded items to make it productive, profitable and sustainable business.”
“But unfortunately, the governments of both countries have not fulfilled the long pending demand,” he said.
“As per the agreement, no country can single-handedly make any change in the list of tradable items that have been mutually agreed upon by representatives of both the countries,” he said.
“Cement which is being exported to India from Wagah can be one of the commodities that could be exported to Kashmir valley on much cheaper rates. Rather than exporting cement to India and then to Jammu and Kashmir, I believe that it would be more convenient and cost effective if traders on this side are allowed to export cement to the buyers on the other side of LoC,” he said adding that after opening up of special trade gate at Wagha border and normalization of trade ties the Kashmiri business community is highly optimistic that steps would be taken to strengthen the trans-LoC trade.
“Besides the inclusion of more goods in the trading list we have also demanded that Kashmiris should be allowed to use Pakistan as a land route to export goods and fresh fruit to Central Asian countries,” Abbassi said adding that there are hundreds of commodities which can be traded across LoC to boost the local economy.
Expressing similar views, Khurshid Mir, member of cross-LoC traders committee, said that traders on both sides of the divide have played significant role in making this CBM a success. He, however, was of the view that limitations of trade has been one of the major irritants that has de-escalated the real potential of the trade.
“Amongst the 22 listed items, ban was imposed on essential items like Garlic, Mongi and Coconut and only a few commodities are now being traded which is one of the reasons that the volume of trade has declined as compared to last two years,” he said.
“Garments, cosmetics and food items should be added to the list of goods,” he said.
“Export of cement, if allowed, would be beneficial to both traders as well as consumers in the valley as Pakistani cement would be available on cheaper rates as compared to cement produced in other states of India,” Mir said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- Siachen can’t be delinked from Kashmir: Omar
- KU top brass on way to Ladakh for ‘foundation stone picnic’
- Where is varsity administration?
- Army Chief to visit JK today
- Report blames lack of coordination at GB Pant Hospital
- Employees attempt Secretariat gherao again
- 33 YEARS ON, KUPWARA YET TO GET DISTRICT HOSPITAL
- Allow trading of cement via Line of Control: Traders
- CSC finalizes interim report
‘Dispose Of PSA Application Within 30 Days’
Srinagar, June 14: In a significant judgment, the Chief Information Commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir GR Sufi has ruled that prohibiting disclosure of any information under the Right to Information Act More
- Srinagar City
BAIG BASHES RULING PARTY; MEHBOOBA TAKES DIG AT OMAR
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 14: Expressing concern at “political marginalization of Srinagar”, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday accused the ruling National Conference (NC) of “building personal fortune” More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Poonch, June 14: There was no let up today in the intermittent firing from across the border at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district. A defence spokesman More
Barsoo (Pulwama), July 14: Scores of people took to the streets in this south Kashmir village on Thursday after a lineman was electrocuted here. A lineman Gulam Hassan Dar son of Muhammad Munawar More