Cross-LoC trade is a confidence-building measure that can pave the way for reconciliation in the region, Jammu and Kashmir minister Naeem Akhtar on Wednesday said. Akhtar, also the state government spokesman, said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has made it clear that the Centre and the state are keen to continue cross-LoC trade.
“Falling prey to certain controversies, it is not good to stop or suspend trade activities across LoC. Such controversies had also erupted on Wagah Border with Pakistan and Doklam with China but the trade activities across the border continue,” he said.
Referring to instances of narcotics and arms smuggling on trade points across LoC, Akhtar called for beefing up security to check such activities.
The government has a proposal to install scanners for scrutiny of vehicles carrying commodities across the LoC to contain smuggling, he said.
Cross-LoC trade has been suspended since July 21 after recovery of 66.5 kilograms of heroin and brown sugar from a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir truck at Salamabad trade facilitation centre.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Salamabad cross-LoC Traders Union led by its president Hilal Turki called on Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here today.
The delegation appealed for the governor’s help in implementation of “long-pending steps” to streamline cross-LoC trade which includes exemption of taxes for exporting goods under the new GST regime, a spokesperson of the Raj Bhawan said.
The other demands include constitution of a special cell comprising state and Central agencies to monitor trade and traders, verification of traders on yearly basis, conversion of currency at the rate prevailing in the international currency markets on quarterly basis, provision of container-based vehicles to traders for exporting goods and provision of a banking system to facilitate trade.
The Governor observed that he would take up their demands with the Union Government and the Chief Minister, the spokesperson said.