LoC trade drug haul brings travel to halt

LoC trade drug haul brings travel to halt

Following the fresh standoff over the alleged recovery of suspected contraband in Jammu and Kashmir from a PaK truck used in intra-Kashmir trade, the travel through Chakothi-Uri crossing point has been cancelled for Monday.

However, the travel through the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point in Poonch division would continue as per routine on Monday, an official said.

It may be mentioned here that the intra-Kashmir travel takes places every Monday while trade is done from Tuesday to Friday, every week, through these two points.  The trade stands suspended for the last three days.

On Friday, the JK authorities alleged that they had recovered around 12 kilograms of suspected contraband item from an orange laden truck, during the routine check of the consignments from PaK at the TFC in Salamabad (Uri).

Since the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the barter trade requires return of all empty trucks by the same afternoon, all 22 trucks from PaK were held up on the other side of the divide due to this development.

In a tit-for-tat response, the PaK authorities also withheld all 50 trucks from JK. These trucks are parked in the TFC Chakothi. The truckers, 12 of them Sikhs and the rest Muslims, are also putting up there.

“The travel from Chakothi-Uri will not take place on Monday due to some security problem for us. This we have decided in consultation with the authorities from the other side through telephonic contacts,” PaK Travel and Trade Authority (Tata) director general Brigadier (retired) Imtiaz Wyne told Greater Kashmir.

He said a high level meeting of the concerned authorities from PaK and JK would be held on Monday at Kaman Bridge to break the impasse. “I am sure there will be a breakthrough,” he said.

Meanwhile, some 49 vehicles, which were transporting fresh fruit imported from JK through the intra-Kashmir trade, to Rawalpindi markets have been forcibly stopped in Abbasiyan village since late Friday night, much to the perturbation of the traders.

Abbasiyan is located some 45 kilometres from here along the Muzaffarabad-Islamabad highway and falls in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) territory.

According to sources in the intra-Kashmir trade, the truck alleged to be the carrier of the contraband item belongs to someone in Abbasiyan, who along with his kinsmen has stopped these 49 vehicles, maintaining that he would not let them move until his truck and driver return from JK.

“These 49 trucks are laden with bananas worth around Rs 30 million. And if they do not reach the fruit markets by tomorrow (Monday) morning the fruit will be rendered uneatable and hence traders will suffer immense loss,” said Ajaz Ahmed Meer, secretary information, Jammu Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKJCCI).

He regretted that no official authority from PaK, KP, Punjab or the Centre, had taken stock of this situation over the past 48 hours.

When asked, DG Tata expressed ignorance about it, saying it was an issue of the traders.