Industries department initiates re-verification of cross-LoC traders

He said that only CID is competent agency to carry such exercise. Hopefully the process will be completed within a month’s time.

Day after Governor NN Vohra directed authorities to de-register those cross LoC traders who do not furnish required documents or have “doubtful antecedents”, the state’s industries and commerce department has initiated the process by collecting details of the listed businessmen, which would be then sent to the police’s CID wing for the verification.  

Principal Secretary, industries and commerce, Shailendra Kumar said that after the governor’s direction the action has been initiated. “I have asked industries directors of both Jammu and Kashmir divisions to compile a list of the cross LoC traders. There are about 550 traders registered with the government,” he said.

“Then details and antecedents of intra-Kashmir traders on both Kashmir and Jammu region will be sent to the CID for verification and if anything objectionable is found against anyone, registration of that particular trader will be declared null and void.”

He said that only CID is competent agency to carry such exercise. Hopefully the process will be completed within a month’s time.

Chairing a high-level meeting to review issues pertaining to cross LoC trade between divided parts of Kashmir, Vohra on Wednesday issued on the spot directions to the director general of police SP Vaid and principal secretary industries Shailendra Kumar to complete the process urgently and de-register those traders who do not furnish required documents or have “doubtful antecedents” without delay.

While welcoming the government’s move, vice president, Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKJCCI), Hilal Turki said, “It is a good move for the trade, but at the same time there should be clarity that by ‘antecedents’ what does government mean.”

“Besides government should also work on increasing the number of tradable items which currently are only 21 and also intra-Kashmir traders are not able to register themselves under GST as this trade doesn’t find any mention in the GST portal.”

On October 2008, India and Pakistan announced commencement of intra-Kashmir trade between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir as a confidence building measure.

Ten years down the line, the trade has been reduced to mere ‘symbolic gesture’ thanks to politics of acrimony between the two countries, experts say.

The cross-LoC trade, which began in 2008 through Salamabad in Uri and Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district with two trade facilitation centres, was an important CBM, with Kashmir’s business community hoping to use these routes for transit trade and alternative to Srinagar-Jammu Highway which is the only road link connecting Kashmir to the rest of the world.

However, as per the business community things did not go as planned as the politics between India and Pakistan didn’t allow this trade to flourish.

Encouraged by the potential of this trade, the joint chamber, in a representation to the Foreign Office ahead of the Working Group meeting, had suggested that traders should be allowed to move across the LoC on a ‘trade pass’ to facilitate smooth trade and recovery of sales proceeds from both sides.

The joint chamber had proposed a multiple-entry pass valid for two years issued on its recommendation and that of other recognized chambers on both sides.

Other demands included banking facilities and expanding the trade list to cover all items manufactured or produced in the two parts of Kashmir, doubling the number of trading days, allowing trucks carrying cross-LoC trade goods to their final destinations, and opening additional routes of Chumb-Pallanwala on the Bhimer-Jammu side and Khoiratta-Noshehra on the Kotli-Rajauri side as these are the shortest and most viable routes for cross-LoC trade.