Row Over Goods’ List Halts Cross-LoC Trade

29 December 2009
Rising Kashmir
Shaheen Khan

Rajouri: The traders of the Valley and Poonch on Tuesday suspended the cross-LoC trade on the Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote roads. The traders Tuesday held demonstrations at Rangar Trade Centre Poonch and convened a meeting of the executive body at Baramulla to discuss further course of action. Talking to Rising Kashmir, custodian of the cross-LoC trade in Poonch, Matloob Khan said that no truck would ply from either side from today. He said the traders had suspended the trade and there was no official direction of the suspension. “Traders have some problems. They had already conveyed to the administration in Pakistan administered Kashmir on Monday that will suspend the trade from today,” he said. “Some demands of the traders are genuine. They have conveyed all the demands to higher authorities.” Meanwhile, traders in Rawalkote had sent their trucks toward Poonch but the goods were not received at the Line of Control. Trade Facilitation Officer M P Mina told Rising Kashmir that the trader in PaK called him at the LoC and asked him to receive their goods. “However, nobody from Poonch received the consignment,” he said. Similarly, no trade consignment were received or sent via Uri-Muzaffarabad road at Salamabad Trade Centre. Meanwhile, the Valley Cross-LoC Traders executive body chaired by Sheikh Tariq held an emergency meeting at Baramulla wherein discussions were held about the future course of action to be taken by the traders. The meeting was also attended by eminent traders Tariq Khan, Hilal Ahmed Khan, Nasir Lone and Muhammad Sadiq. Giving details, a Valley trader Tariq Khan said that ban on Moong Dal was the main reason for the suspension of trade. However he said that there were other reasons also. Tariq said the traders had received invitation from the government through Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for having a meeting on Wednesday. “We will meet the Divisional Commissioner and take a decision about resuming or not resuming the trade after the meeting,” he said. Meanwhile Poonch traders Tuesday held a protest demonstration at Chakan-Da-Bagh Trade Centre and demanded immediate redress of their demands. The traders including Sheeraz Khan, Pawan Anand, Krishen Singh and Abdul Gani Dewan addressed around 60 traders. Giving details, spokesman of Cross-LoC Traders Association Poonch, Sheeraz Khan said they demand lifting of ban on listed items agreed between the two sides on 28 August 2008. “We also demand enhancing the items of the list from 21 and receiving 50 trucks instead of 25 from PaK.” Sheeraz said they had forwarded a memorandum of demands to Custodian of Trade, Trade Facilitation Officer and Custom Department. “The ball is in the court of Government of India. If they are interested to continue the trade, they must fulfill our demands before next Tuesday. Otherwise the cross-LoC trade will stop forever.” He said the traders had suffered a loss of Rs 7 crore during the last one and a half month and added that the government had reduced the number of items agreed for cross-LoC trade. “Trade was limited to two items only. Many traders have become fed up with the cross-LoC trade. Domestic trade is better than this headache.” Sheeraz said there was market for Moong Dal but that had been banned.