Preparations In Full Swing In Kashmir Valley For Cross Border Trade Along LoC

2 October 2008

Jammu: Preparations are in full swing for setting up facilities at two points along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir for starting border trade with Pakistani Kashmir. The work on infrastructure facilities at Salamabad near Uri on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road is almost in its final stages. “We are making store houses, examinations halls for the examination of incoming and outgoing goods, scanning halls and fumigation halls, CHA facilities,” said Nisar Ahmed, Project Engineer. While 95 per cent of the required work for raising pre-fabricated structures providing warehousing, immigration and customs facilities, scanning units and weighing bridges have been completed, the sprucing up of the 12-kilometer border stretch from Salamabad to the Kaman Post is proceeding apace. People in Uri are excited with speeding up of the work for the cross LoC trade expecting that it would uplift the local economy by generating employment. “We want the trade to begin and peace to be established in the State. God has given us an opportunity to improve our trade prospects,” said Sheikh Mubarak, a resident. A similar trade facility is coming up at Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point on the Line of Control in Poonch District of Jammu and Kashmir. As civil construction work is going on full swing, traders are upbeat of their future trade prospects. They want that more routes should be opened for bilateral trade. “If trade has to increase then other routes along the Line of Control should also be opened. There is no problem in opening LoC routes but as far as Sialkot-Suchetgarh is concerned it is an international route so it might take time,” Ram Sahay President Chamber Of Commerce, Jammu. India and Pakistan agreed on September 22 on arrangements to open a border route for bilateral trade between parts of divided Kashmir on the Poonch-Rawalakot and the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad route from October 21. The two countries are reported to have finalised a list of 21 items each to be traded between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir. Meanwhile, a delegation of Chamber of Commerce from Pakistan Administered Kashmir is visiting Jammu and Kashmir from October 9 to interact with their counterparts in Srinagar and Jammu on trade related issues