Jammu: Businessmen trading with Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district have suffered a loss of around Rs 50 crore since its suspension early last month, officials said on Tuesday.
The suspension of trade between India and Pakistan through the district today entered its eighth consecutive week, they said.
The cross-LoC bus service, billed as the biggest confidence building measure between the two countries, has also been suspended along the Poonch-Rawalakot route through Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point since July 10.
“Cross-LoC trade was scheduled to resume today but it could not happen. Therefore, it remains suspended for the eighth consecutive week,” the custodian of LoC trade (Poonch), Mohammad Tanveer, told reporters.
He said goods worth Rs 6 to 7 crore used to be traded from the Indian side every week. “Traders have suffered a loss of Rs 48 to Rs 56 crore due to the suspension of the cross-LoC trade,” Tanveer said.
He said goods worth Rs 1,500 crore were traded by businessmen of the divided parts of Kashmir since the start of the facility in 2008.
“The figure covers both import and exported goods that have been traded through Chakan-da-Bagh trade facilitation centre,” he said.
The trade, which usually takes place for three days from Tuesdays, was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side that damaged trade facilitation centres and police barracks.
Besides Poonch, cross-LoC trade also takes place through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in Uri sector of the Kashmir valley.
The cross-LoC trade takes place on the barter system and has survived opposition from various quarters, both in the Valley, including separatists and militants, and from right-wing political parties in Jammu.
The trade has also been in focus amid reports that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing terror funding in Kashmir, may recommend its closure.
However Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last month strongly rooted for cross-LoC trade, stating that her party, the PDP, will not allow its closure and will continue to work towards opening more routes across the LoC with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.