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Bizmen see no hope of LoC trade revival post Article 370

Bizmen see no hope of LoC trade revival post Article 370

Amit Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 17

The cross-LoC traders in Jammu and Kashmir, who are facing losses in crores, are seeing no hope of the revival of the trade at Salamabad in Kashmir and Chakan da Bagh in Jammu, which was suspended on April 18 last year, particularly after the revocation of Article 370.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had ordered the suspension of the cross-LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakan da Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir, putting in place a stricter regulatory regime in April last year.

The order further read that the Central government had received reports that the cross-LoC trade routes in Jammu and Kashmir are being misused by some Pakistan-based elements.

Despite passing of 10 months, no decision has yet been taken to resume the trade with a new regulatory regime. Though the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had made a base for a full-body scanner at Chakan da Bagh, the work was stopped after August 5 last year when Article 370 was abrogated and J&K state was the bifurcated into two Union Territories.

“There used to be a trade of about Rs 40 crore per month at both points, which has been suspended for the last 10 months. We do not see any hope of its revival as the trade from the Wagah border is also suspended,” said Pawan Anand, president Cross-LoC Traders Union, Chakan da Bagh. “We always supported the government to make stricter regulation for the trade on the LoC as it is a matter of national security, but we are waiting for its resumption for the last 10 months. We had been facing huge losses,” Anand said.

There are about 1,700 traders registered at both Poonch and Uri trade points of J&K who used to do business with their counterparts on the other side of the Line of Control on a barter system since 2008. Fresh fruit, dry fruit and medicinal herbs were the most popular trade items.

The traders from Poonch claim that there was no untoward incident of smuggling of drugs, sending terror money or illegal ammunition. Officials are, however, tightlipped on the issue as it was the decision of the Home Ministry to suspend the trade. The rights to resume the same are with the Home Ministry.

The LoC trade was started in 2008 at Salamabad for Uri-Muzaffarabad and Chakan da Bagh in Poonch-Rawlakot but there had been regular reports that Pakistan is sending narcotics, terror money and illegal ammunition to this side through the trade.

The cross-border trade was being operated thrice a week.

1,700 traders hit

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs had ordered the suspension of the cross-LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakan da Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir, putting in place a stricter regulatory regime in April last year
  • There are about 1,700 traders registered at both Poonch and Uri trade points of J&K who used to do business with their counterparts on the other side of the Line of Control on a barter system since 2008
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