Cross-LoC trade on decline, allege traders

SRINAGAR: The Jammu chapter of the cross-Line of Control (cross-LoC) trade has dwindled due to the state government’s approach, the traders alleged.
According to the Cross-LoC Traders Union, Chakandabagh, the trade across Poonch-Rawalkote route has “dwindled significantly” in the last about six months.
The reason, as per the union, is the government’s decision to allow exchange of only five trucks per week and the delay in increasing the number of tradable goods.
“Due to the limitations, we could not even import bananas, which are otherwise imported in abundance in summers, from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) this year,” General Secretary of the union, Sardar Kishen Sigh, told Kashmir Reader on Thursday.
“The authorities aren’t worried about the condition of the trade. No measurers are being taken to boost this trade, which was launched as a CBM between India and Pakistan in 2006,” he said.
Singh said he recently met the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh, but in vain.
“The meeting didn’t result in anything fruitful,” he said.
Explaining the kind of “curbs” government has put on the trade, Singh said the traders cannot even take their mobile phones inside the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC). It, he said, affects communication, which is essential for trade.
The promised monthly meeting between the traders from both sides too isn’t happening, he said.
“More than six months have passed since the last meeting was held,” he said. “The meeting holds great significance and the traders have been promised that such meets will be given priority. But it all remains just a promise.”
According to Singh, the government is yet to finalise the traders’ joint delegation that was to visit PaK.
“We are still awaiting clearance for the 15 members who are supposed to be a part of this meet,” he said, appealing the Ministry of Home Affairs, India to resolve the issues confronting the trades.