KAMAN POST (URI): Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today hoped that peace and friendship between India and Pakistan would finally triumph over acrimony and confrontation between the two neighbouring countries. She also expressed the hope that the ambit of cross-LoC trade and travel activities would be further expanded so that there is more exchange of people and goods.
Interacting with media persons after visiting the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Salamabad and Kaman Post, the Chief Minister described poverty, unemployment and corruption as the biggest enemies of the people of the two countries and suggested a pooling of resources between both in fighting these menaces. She said it is a fact that borders cannot be redrawn but they can certainly be made irrelevant with frequent exchanges of people, students, artists and other groups.
Expressing dismay over the recurrent flare-ups along the LoC, the Chief Minister said the people of Jammu and Kashmir were, unfortunately, the worst sufferers of this hostility as they have to live under perpetual threat to their lives and properties. She said the only way to prevent the loss of lives and destruction of properties and ensure peace along the borders is to revive the spirit of the 2003 ceasefire which had brought a new hope of peace and prosperity to the lives of people along the borders from Kathua to Kargil.
Advocating opening more traditional routes along the LoC, Mehbooba Mufti said with this the people on the two sides would come closer to each otherand would thus better understand each others’ problems. This would ultimately lead to a lowering of the tensions and violence which have plagued the state for a long time now.
Mehbooba Mufti said cross-LoC travel and trade were not conceived of and piloted as an isolated facility but to bring the people on both sides of the divide closer and open a new chapter of friendship and working together. She hoped that the ambit of the cross-LoC trade would be further expanded to get the two people to understand each other better.
Earlier, the Chief Minister visited various areas of the Kaman Post such as those handling passenger arrival, customs clearance etc. Officers stationed at the Kaman Post briefed her about passenger arrivals and daily activities .
The Chief Minister also laid the foundation of the Tourist Facilitation Centre at Salamabad which, on completion, would have a state-of-the-art guest house, restaurant, craft shop and amusement park.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year and it would provide luxury boarding and lodging facilities on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.
The Chief Minister also had a detailed meeting with a group of cross-LoC traders.
Mehbooba Mufti directed removal of all bottlenecks coming in the smooth way of operating trade across the LoC. She directed creation of a single-window clearance mechanism for addressing the needs of traders, so that they don’t have to go from one office to another for the redressal of issues they might have.
In a specific direction, the Chief Minister directed taking steps so that concessions to cross-LoC trade are extended under the GST. She also directed deployment of adequate manpower at the TFC, Salamabad, for efficient service delivery. She assured the traders that her government would take all steps necessary to ease their business activities at the TFC and instil confidence among them.
Minister for Roads and Buildings Naeem Akhtar; Chief Secretary B. B. Vyas; Director General of Police Dr. S. P. Vaid; Principal Secretary, Home, R. K. Goyal; Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Rohit Kansal; Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar; Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan and officers of the district administration were present on the occasion.