Protests over registrations disrupt cross-LoC trade in Kashmir

Protests over registrations disrupt cross-LoC trade in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: The cross-Line of Control (cross-LoC) trade remained suspended Tuesday due to protests by residents of Uri town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district against “denial of registration”.
About 25 cross-LoC traders, who were to trade with their counterparts from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) through Salamabad-Chakoti trade route, couldn’t carry out their scheduled dealings.
The cross-LoC trade, started by India and Pakistan as a Confidence Building Measure (CBM) in 2008, takes place through Salamabad-Chakoti and Poonch-Rawalakot trade routes from Monday till Thursday every week.
The eyewitness told Kashmir Reader that the protestors locked the gate of Trade Facilitation Center, Salamabad. The protesters, they said, alleged that they were not being registered as traders by the authorities.
“They said they had applied for registration at custodian’s office but were not being registered by the authorities since long,” witnesses said.
The Custodian of the Cross-LoC trade, Farooq Shah, said the registrations were kept on hold on directions of the Director Industries.
“We have the orders not to grant any new registrations,” Farooq told Kashmir Reader.
“There were many issues with the registration of LoC traders. The order was valid till the trade could be streamlined, which is almost done. This issue of Uri residents has been taken up and we will provide them registrations soon,” he said.
He said the issue was resolved in the evening, but it was too late for the armies on the LoC to allow any trade activities.
“They didn’t allow the trade due to security reasons. It will resume tomorrow,” he said.
Farooq, who had deregistered about 300 traders, said he received about 100 applications for new registrations in the last two months. About 60 of them have submitted all requisite documents, he said.
General Secretary of the Salambad-Chakoti Trade Association, Hilal Ahmad Turki, said disruption of trade “is a concern”, asking the authorities “to streamline all the bottlenecks sooner than later”.
“These protests only result in a loss to traders. We could not cross over to PaK, and the traders from that side couldn’t reach us. There is an apprehension that fresh fruits that were to be delivered to PaK will get spoiled,” he said.