LoC truck service to start from Oct 21

26 September 2008
The News International

ISLAMABAD: While it is all quiet on this side of the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir, feverish activity has started across the LoC on war footing where LoC trade centre, including a truck terminal and godowns are being set up at the Poonch area. October 28 hopefully should see the intra-Kashmir trade and truck service to commence on the Poonch-Rawalakot route in the Jammu region. The LoC trade will start between on October 21 via Uri-Muzaffarabad road in the Kashmir Valley. Previously when the train service was launched at Tharparkar, it was the Indian side which had completed all the formalities while work had not even started on the Pakistani side. According to media reports the centre at Poonch, coming up at Rangar near the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point on the Line of Control, will have truck terminal, godowns, customs and immigration offices, scanning chambers with X-ray machines, weighing bridge and security posts. The government had sanctioned Rs190 million for the development of infrastructure for cross-LoC trade at Rangar. The first phase of infrastructure will be ready by October 15 at a cost of Rs42.5 million, an official said, adding although we have very short time, we will complete it by the deadline before the start of the trade. Chakan-da-Bagh was opened on November 21, 2005 for providing relief to the people hit by the worst earthquake on October 8, 2005. First LoC trade and truck service will start on October 21 via Uri-Muzaffarabad road and a week later, it will commence from Jammu regions Poonch-Rawalakote road on October 28. In a significant decision expanding people-to-people contacts, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to LoC trade on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot roads. Meanwhile, a delegation from Azad Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries will visit Poonch on October 17. Though both sides say that items for trade have been decided, the list of items for intra-Kashmir trade has still not been made public.