‘Transactions pending, accounts unsettled’|Affected traders seek resumption of trans-LoC trade

Appeal union home ministry for needful
‘Transactions pending, accounts unsettled’|Affected traders seek resumption of trans-LoC trade

With suspension of trans-LoC trade badly affecting them, the traders associated with it have appealed to the union home for its resumption.

Following tension between India and Pakistan after Pulwamasuicide attack in February, the union home ministry ordered suspension ofintra-Kashmir trade carried out at two points in Jammu and Kashmir.

The MHA in April ordered suspension of cross-Line of Controltrade via Salamabad and Chakan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir following reportsof alleged misuse of the trade routes by Pakistan-based elements for illegalinflow of narcotics, weapons and currency.

The suspension of the trade has rendered over 500 tradersjobless, who are now running from pillar to post seeking its immediate.

"Nobody is against scrutiny, but it should not be at thecost of the trade and traders. This trade was started as a confidence buildingmeasure between India and Pakistan to de-escalate tension between thearch-rivals and also promote economy of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Butunfortunately, it has become a victim of hatred," said vice president ofSalamabad Cross LoC Traders' Association, Samiullah Bhat.

"Government of India should identify those elements that itclaims to have used this trade route for anti-national activities. But itshould not punish the whole traders' community for the fault of a few," hesaid, adding that "it would be prudent it the government of India introduces afool-proof mechanism including banking and communication services for thetraders, so that there is no scope for the bad elements to exploit this trade."

President, Poonch cross-LoC traders' association, PawanAnand, said the suspension of trade has "cost the livelihood of more than 2,000people involved with this trade".

"We have been told that government of India is drafting astandard operating procedure for carrying out this trade, which would includefull body scanners, etc. But so far, nothing has been done.

"We urge the central government to resume this tradeimmediately, as there are pending transactions between the traders from bothsides, who are now worried as they are unable to settle their accounts."

Pertinently, trade of 21 items like red chilli, mangoes,herbs and dry fruits has been hit following suspension of the LoC trade.

The cross-LoC trade was started in 2008. Till 2017 stood itgrew to over Rs 4,400 crore from Uri route, and Rs 2,542 crore from Poonch.

Initially, 646 businessmen from Jammu and Kashmir hadregistered for trade from the two crossing points, but the number now stands ataround 280, who are actually involved in conducting the trade.

When the cross LoC trade started, initially the business wasconducted twice a week but from October 15, 2011, the trading days wereextended to four.

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