Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said tranquility on borders was key to the smooth operation of trade activities across the Line of Control and to safeguard the life and property of people living in frontiers.
"Peaceful and conducive conditions on borders give fillip to trade activities and also enable farmers to carry on agriculture operations smoothly and without any fear," he said.
Interacting with traders after opening the Trade Facilitation Centre at Salamabad in Uri, 120-km from here, on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, Omar said he hoped the prevailing peaceful situation along the LoC would get further strengthened.
He said the cross-LoC trade was as an important Confidence Building Measures (CBM) between India and Pakistan and more initiatives were required to ensure its further growth.
Omar reiterated the need to convert the present barter system of trade into the normal one to enable traders on both sides to get benefits.
Underlining the need for telephone and banking facilities for traders, he said his government had already taken up these issues with the Centre and would pursue these at the highest level.
The traders presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding inclusion of milk and milk products, mineral water, canned trout fish, juices and jams, wheat and wheat products, sports items, Kashmiri willow, marble and gypsum in the export goods list.
The traders also demanded that all type of pulses, oil seeds, leather and leather products, tea and coffee, all types of tyres and tubes, milk products, lubricants, hosiery and cosmetics goods, electric goods, textiles items, surgical items, fertilisers, foodgrains and spices and spare parts of automobile and poultry products be included in the import list of goods.
They also highlighted the need for speedy clearance of visits of traders by the PoK authorities. The traders demanded hotline communication between the officers related to trade and travel and establishment of warehouse and cold-storage facility in district Baramulla.
The Chief Minister said he would take up these issues with the concerned authorities, assuring the traders full support of his government.
Omar was informed that goods worth Rs 1620.35 crore (Pakistani currency) were imported into the state since the inception of the cross-LoC trade while goods worth Rs 994.33 crores have been exported to PoK.
As many as 14580 truck-loads arrived here from other side of LoC and 21857 trucks carried trade goods from here to that side of the LoC, the Chief Minister was told.
The Centre built at a cost of Rs 895.72 lakh has two cargo examination halls, parking yard, washroom block, weighing bridge, administrative block, water distribution system, trade facility post, drainage network, electric sub-station and X-ray scanner besides other facilities.