Kashmir Traders To Use Indian Rupee For All Transactions12 June 2010
The Daily Times
New Delhi: With no banking facilities for cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade as yet, traders on both sides of the border have settled down to accept the Indian rupee as the currency for cash transactions. They also decided to settle down for their own exchange rate for payments of goods bought and sold. The latest exchange rate that was decided early this week in a meeting of the traders from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) was that the Indian rupee would be equivalent to Pakistani rupee 1.82. The rate will remain valid for the next three months. The earlier exchange rate was Rs 1.62. At the time of starting the cross-LoC trade, India and Pakistan had agreed to allow one or two banks operating in each country to open their branches in their respective territories for facilitating business in Kashmir but the final decision remains suspended for want of dialogue since 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Normally, it is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which should decide the exchange rate but it did not come to help the Kashmiri traders. Therefore, the traders would be doing business based on mutually agreed exchange rates for their transactions. A report in a Kashmir daily said some 182 traders from both sides of Kashmir, 113 from AJK and 69 from IHK, settled their accounts in the day-long meeting on Wednesday at the Rah-e-Milan Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district and also constituted a 14-member committee to take any further decisions concerning LoC trade. AJK Education Minister Noorin Araf, along with the education director, camped with the traders in the meeting, while the Indian side was assisted by Poonch Additional District Collector Matloob Khan, the report said. Significantly, the meeting took place after a period of nearly six months as an earlier meeting convened at the zero line nearly two months ago was boycotted by traders from the Indian side on the pretext that it was convened in the evening leaving little time to discuss various issues with their counterparts from across the border.