Cross-LoC trade runs into jeopardy

14 July 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Cross-LoC trade on weekly Poonch-Rawlakote route today ran into rough weather with traders in Poonch refusing to unload goods sent by their counterparts from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 8 trucks on the ground that their lakhs of rupees have been blocked by the traders across the Line of Control (LoC). 'The traders of PoK were not sending goods of an equal amount to the items exported by traders of Poonch and Jammu leading to a huge gap of money in import-export', the businessmen on this side said as they refused to download goods sent by the PoK traders today. All eight trucks of PoK in which only dal moong had been sent by the PoK businessmen were held up at Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Rangarh in Poonch district with efforts made by the civil authorities to persuade the traders to download the goods not materialising, official sources said. google_protectAndRun('ads_core.google_render_ad', google_handleError, google_render_ad); The trade between two parts of the divided State is being conducted on barter system in the absence of any guidelines framed by the Governments of India and Pakistan on the use of currency. Traders in Poonch said even today they sent goods in 20 trucks to PoK carrying items worth Rs 92.09 lakh while their counterparts in PoK sent only eight trucks goods valued at Rs 49 lakh (only Rs 30 lakh in Indian currency). 'Amount worth several lakhs of many traders has been blocked by a number of businessmen in PoK. Despite our repeated requests through e-mail, the traders of PoK have not been sending goods of an equal amount as exported by us', the traders said. The traders also met Matloob Khan, former Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO) and Custodian of cross-LoC trade and asked him to take up the issue of their blocked money with PoK authorities. It may be mentioned here that traders from two parts of divided State had also formed a joint working group last month to discuss the problems arising out of barter system of trade. The traders had decided to meet every month but no meeting except for the one in which the group was formed has been held so far. The traders in Poonch and Jammu have complained that they were placing orders of import to their counterparts in PoK equal to the amount of goods they were exporting. However, they regretted, the PoK traders were sending goods of lesser amount causing them heavy losses. Some of the businessmen in Poonch even went to the extent of stopping cross-LoC trade till the goods equal to their amount blocked by the PoK traders are sent to this side. According to sources, the PoK traders should have dispatched at least 25 trucks load of goods today but they sent just eight trucks of dal moong. This irked the businessmen, dealing with cross-LoC trade, who resented the action of their counterparts across LoC and refused to unload the goods. However, 20 trucks which left for PoK from Poonch this morning carrying coconut, kernil, onion, potatoes, pineapple, dry coriander and brown cardamom were unloaded by the PoK traders and they returned to Poonch this evening. Cross-LoC trade, which was launched on October 22 last year, could run into jeopardy if PoK traders didn't dispatch adequate number of goods even tomorrow. Tuesday and Wednesday are fixed for cross-LoC trade on Poonch-Rawlakote route. google_protectAndRun('ads_core.google_render_ad', google_handleError, google_render_ad);