Traders seek Governor’s intervention
Baramulla: The cross LOC trade through Uri remained suspend for second consecutive week as drivers from Pakistani administration Kashmir (PaK) have been refusing to participate unless their colleagues arrested for allegedly carrying drugs were released.
Three drivers have been arrested in three separate incidents over the past few years. On 17 January in 2014, a driver, Mohammad Shafiq, was arrested when police recovered 114 kilograms of narcotic drugs from his vehicle in Salamabad Uri. He has since been in jail. The latest incident took place on July 21 this year when a driver, Syed Mohammad Yousuf, was arrested when police said it recovered 66 kilograms of drugs from his vehicle.
Following the incident, the PaK drivers suspended their participation in the trade. Chairman of the Cross LoC Traders Union, Mohammad Asif Lone, said that the drivers were unrelenting.
On Wednesday, a delegation of the union, led by its President, Hilal Turki, called on J&K’s Governor, N N Vohra, to seek his intervention in restarting the trade. Lone, in a statement issued in Srinagar, said that the governor “assured us that he will take steps for its restoration”.
However, the governor told the traders that “we never stopped the trade”, and it was the Pakistani authorities who “are not serious to restore it”.
Traders also raised some long pending demands for streamlining the cross LoC trade, including a GST exemption for the trade. Other measures that the traders demanded are the constitution of a special cell comprising of Indian and local agencies to monitor trade, verification of traders on yearly basis, currency conversion and banking facilities, provision of container based vehicles and communication facilities, construction of an international standard ware house, accountability and balancing of accounts of the cross LOC traders, curbing the menace of proxy trading, security against contraband items if discovered in consignments from the other side, increase in number of trucks per day, and installation of full body scanners at TFC Salamabad the Kaman Post.