Ready to expand cross-LoC trade: Home Secretary
‘Will Try To Sort Out Issues With Islamabad’
Srinagar, May 17: Day after reviewing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Secretary R K Singh on Thursday indicated that the government of India was willing to expand the scope of cross-LoC trade if the government of Pakistan agrees to do so.
Singh, who arrived here on Wednesday, visited Chakan-de- Bagh Poonch and interacted with cross-LoC traders and officials while his proposed trip to Salamabad, Uri was canceled due to bad weather, prompting the Valley-based traders to meet him at Nehru Guest House here.
After his arrival at Chakan-da-Bagh Poonch this morning, Union Home Secretary, according to the handout issued by the state government here this evening, said that keeping in view the increased demand of traders from across the LoC, the government would consider increasing the quantum of traded items in near future.
Singh said the matters like provision of banking facility and issue of multiple visa facility for traders would also be taken up with the Pakistan government.
Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone from Poonch president of cross-LoC Traders Association Chakan-de- Bagh, Pawan Anand said the Union Home Secretary assured them that he will take up their genuine demands with his Pakistani counterpart later this month.
“We also submitted a memorandum of demands for simplifying complexities in the trade and upgradation of basic infrastructure at the trade centre,” Anand said.
Singh is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad on May 24-25 for Secretary level talks.
Later, the Home Secretary also met a delegation of Salamabad Chakoti traders at Nehru Guest House here.
"We had a very successful meeting with Singh and we are hopeful that the Cross-Loc trade will be a big success in future," Salamabad-Chokti Trade Union president Hilal Ahmad Turki said after the meeting.
Turkey, who led a 12-member delegation, said the meeting lasted for 45 minutes at Nehru Guest House on the banks of Dal Lake and the response of Singh was very positive.
"Singh assured that he will take up our demand for setting up of banking and communication facility and free movement of traders with Pakistan during his forthcoming visit there," Turki said.
He also assured immediate action to address local issues like increasing the manpower and setting up of sophisticated truck scanners for the smooth function of the trade.
"Prior to this meeting, we were apprehensive that the trade ties with Muzaffarabad will be over within the next couple of weeks, but Singh's assurances and prompt action has generated a new hope among us," he said.
He said Singh had also assured the delegation that the country will persuade Islamabad to include more goods in the trading list for the benefit of the people.
Another traders Asif Lone, who was the part of Salamabad- Chakoti Traders Union that met Home Secretary, said that he (Home Secretary) assured them that hassles in the cross-LoC trade would be sorted out during his meeting with Pakistani Home Secretary later this month.
“The Home Secretary told us that there would be more relaxations in trade and New Delhi has no hesitation in providing banking facility to cross-LoC traders, but is awaiting nod from Pakistan to start it,” Lone said.
“We demanded that there should be negative list of tradable items but he said that New Delhi would push for inclusion of more items in the trade,” Lone added.
The demands submitted in the memorandum by traders to Home Secretary calls for initiation of banking facilities and opening of communication links between two parts of Kashmir and forming the negative list (items which cannot be traded).
Pertinently, on day first of his visit Home Secretary met with Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
During both the meetings, the discussion revolved around repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of JK.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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