Cross-LoC trade to resume tomorrow in Kashmir

Cross-LoC trade is conducted every Tuesday and Wednesday on a barter basis.

Srinagar: After remaining suspended for nearly four weeks, cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade between divided parts of Kashmir will resume on Tuesday following
assurances from the state government to the traders of improved facilities.

"We have decided to resume trade from tomorrow following the assurances given by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that our demands will be considered favourably," Salamabad-Chakoti Traders Union General Secretary Hilal Ahmad Turki told a news agency.

He said trucks carrying goods for export to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have already reached Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Uri sector of Baramulla district.

Cross-LoC trade is conducted every Tuesday and Wednesday on a barter basis, but was suspended in May after traders accused the state government of neglecting their demands.

Among the major demands of the traders are exempting cross-LoC trade from the purview of Value Added Tax (VAT), as they claimed that trade between this side and PoK should be treated as intra-state business.

The other demands are expanding the list of items that can be traded, setting up of banking and communication facilities and construction of covered godowns at Salamabad.

During a meeting last week, Omar assured traders that the demands falling within the jurisdiction of the state government will be considered sympathetically, while those falling in the ambit of the Union government will be taken up with the Centre.

The joint statement issued by the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries in Islamabad also mentioned revival of the working group on cross-LoC trade for looking into the possibility of increasing the number of trade days per week and providing
banking and communication facilities to the traders.


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