Srinagar, Feb 27: The fate of cross LoC trade is hanging in balance as the traders from Kashmir region have gone on an indefinite strike and have decided to boycott the trade against the decision of the government to impose a ban on the trading of four commonly bartered commodities.
The government recently imposed ban on barter of Pistachio, Apple, Charmagaz and Anardana out of the 21 agreed tradable items between the two sides.
Sources said that these items were put in the negative list due to some concerns which the government didn’t share with the traders.
Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JK-JCCI), an umbrella body of intra-Kashmir trade, on Tuesday demanded that authorities regulating the cross-LoC trade should immediately revoke the recent ban order.
In a statement issued here JKJCCI president Javid Ahmed Tenga said that the amalgam has been advocating to add more tradable fast selling items to the existing 21 items list to make the LOC trade broad based and meaningful.
It’s in place to mention here that Salamabad cross LoC traders union, an umbrella body of intra-Kashmir traders, staged a sit-in at Uri on Monday due to which cross LoC bus got stuck for two hours.
Insiders revealed that decision to ban these four items has been taken at the highest level and there are no chances of this decision being revoked. “The cross LoC traders by going on strike is unlikely to have any impact on the authorities as they are firm on their decision,” they added.
President of Salamabad cross LoC traders union Hilal Turkie said that authorities regulating the cross-LoC trade are creating problems for the traders by banning certain goods. “Boycott would continue till the ban is revoked and the trade facilitation officer is transferred,” he added.
An official said, “The cross LoC trade had come under scanner last year when huge quantity of contrabands were recovered from a Kashmir bound truck. It has been observed that trucks carrying small items from either side can pose a big problem. I don’t think that this decision will be revoked.”
He said, “Besides contrabands some arms and ammunition were recovered from a truck engaged in cross-LoC trade in Uri sector in March 2017.”
It may be recalled that Police had said that arms were recovered after a tip-off about some arms and ammunition being smuggled in a goods truck meant to carry cross-LoC (Line of Control) trade merchandise.
The incoming goods laden trucks which had gone to Chakoti area of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) were searched at Uri during which a Chinese pistol, two magazines with 14 rounds of ammunition, four AK magazines with 120 rounds and two Chinese grenades were recovered from a truck. The driver of the truck, Irshad Ahmad Mantoo of Buchpora village of Kulgam, was arrested and is being questioned.
The official said, “Escalation of tensions at the LoC and army expressing apprehensions about militants may try to sneak in large numbers this year have alerted all the agencies. This route was opened for trade and the effort of the government is to ensure that only trade takes place through this route.”