Govt Not Serious To Finalize Trans-LoC Trade: FCIK

1 June 2008

Srinagar: The Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir on Sunday stated that the much hyped trans-LoC trade, currently under consideration of India and Pakistan, was more aimed at building confidence between the people of two parts of Kashmir than promotion of business. Speaking to Greater Kashmir, the president FCIK, Shakeel Qalandar, elaborated on what he had said earlier in the international seminar on ‘Regional economic integration among South East Asian countries’, which had been organised by department of economics, University of Kashmir, Qalandar said that the state and central governments should desist from befooling the business community by projecting miraculous affect of trade in the prosperity of entrepreneurs. Qalandar said, “The business community of the state was ready to cooperate to make the trans-LoC trade a success which might help in building good relations and confidence in the process of finding a final solution to the disputes between the two nations. The politicians and other concerned needed not to be shy of divulging the real purpose of LoC trade.” Commenting on the commencement of trade, the FCIK president said that the chances for immediate start of trade were bleak as no trade was possible unless the business fraternity clearly knew about its three fundamentals ‘what, how and why’ to trade. Elaborating on the first fundamental of ‘what’ to trade, he informed that in response to a formal communication from the state government four years back, the FCIK had furnished a list of 46 items, processed and manufactured in the state, aspired for trans-LoC trade. He said that business chambers of the state had also furnished their lists during the same period. “Till date the final approved list had not been made public by the government, and it is understood that only a few and not all items were being considered to be traded by both the governments of India and Pakistan that too within the periphery of the other part of Kashmir.” The FCIK president further said that the business community had also been kept in dark in respect of the goods approved or under consideration for imports from the other part of Kashmir. “Owing to absence of modalities and guidelines, the entrepreneurs were not clear as how the trade activities between the two sides would take place”, Qalandar said adding that no arrangement for the inter-traders meetings had been made, which was essentially required for finalization of the terms after assessment of the quality of goods for the purpose of import or export. The president FCIK expressed his concern that despite its enormous potential, no initiatives were being taken by the state or central governments to change the status of J&K from consumer state to a producer state as the government was not keen and sincere to augment the growth oriented inward resource base of the state. “When the entrepreneurs who suffered immense losses during turbulent period had not been revived and when the state and central government departments operating in the state were making procurement of their required goods from outsiders, how one could believe that government endeavor to open LoC for trade was to the benefit of these hapless entrepreneurs to provide them extended market”, he questioned.