Cross-border Talking28 April 2010
Rajouri: In a significant development that could give impetus to cross-border trade between two parts of Kashmir, Government of India has given a nod to direct International Subscribers Dialing (ISD) facility to Pakistan from five telephone booths of Jammu and Kashmir. These special ISD booths are being installed for the facilitation of cross-LoC traders on Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote road. Sources told Rising Kashmir that GoI has given consent to state-owned BSNL to activate ISD calls from five telephone numbers directly to Pakistan. “After receiving green signal from New Delhi, BSNL authorities are installing two telephones with ISD facility to Pak in the office of custodian of Cross LoC Trade Salamabad in Baramulla district. Another such connection is being activated in the office of Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir,” they said adding the installation of numbers at Baramulla was in the final stages. Sources said BSNL has already installed such facility on two telephone numbers in Poonch. “A number “220116” installed in the office of Manager, District Industries Centre Poonch has been given ISD facility of direct call to Pakistan while the facility has also been activated in another number “220333” installed in Deputy Commissioner Office Poonch,” they said. Sources said that than Nodal Officer of the cross LoC trade Poonch, Matloob Khan and Custodian LoC Trade Salamabad Uri MA Wani had already moved a proposal through General Administration Department of the State proposing installation of ISD booths at both the places for the facilitation of traders. “Yes I had forwarded such proposal”, former Nodal Officer and Additional District Development Commissioner Poonch Matloob Khan said. Minister for Industries and Commerce Surjit Singh Salathia confirmed that five telephone connections in the State have been given ISD facility of direct call to Pakistan. “The initiative was taken for the benefit of Cross-LoC traders. GoI has already given its nod and BSNL is installing such connections,” he said adding activation of telephone connections with Pakistan was one of the main demand of the traders engaged in cross-LoC trade. ISD call facility to Pakistan from the State was snapped after the outbreak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.