Open more trade routes with Pak,Omar to centre

Omar Abdullah,led coalition government in J-K has written to the Central government seeking the opening of more trade links with Pak.

Written by Ishfaq Naseem | Jammu | Published: March 14, 2009 12:11 pm

At a time Pakistan has been plunged into a political turmoil,Chief Minister,Omar Abdullah,led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has written to the Central government seeking the opening of more trade links with the neighbouring country.

In a letter which the State government has shot off to the Union Home Ministry,it has asked for opening of the Suchetgarh-Sialkote,Nowshera-Mirpur and Chammb-Palanwala trade routes.

J-K’s Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce,Anil Goswami,said,“State is for the opening of more trade routes with the neighbouring country. We have recommended the opening of more trade routes. However the final decision lies with the Central government as it is for the state of Pakistan and India to decide on the opening of more trade routes.”

However,state’s letter to the Union Home Ministry asking for opening of more trade routes has come even as the business on the routes of Srinagar-Muzafarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads was already slow. Since the beginning of the trade on the routes from 21 October 2008 to 25 February this year,state has exported commodities of not more than Rs 10 lakh on the Poonch-Rawalakote road. However the imports have been on a higher side at Rs 21 lakh.

Likewise the export of the goods on the Srinagar-Muzafarad road has not been more than 3000 quintal while as the import has not been more than 2757 quintals.

However even as government has plans to open more routes,the trade on the cross-LOC routes was slow due to the lack of the banking and communication facilities between the two sides of the line of control. However Principal Secretary Industries said,“The Union Home Ministry has set up a committee to review the progress of trade on the cross-loc trade routes. State has also brought it to their notice that the trade was slow due to the lack of banking and communication facilities between the two side of LOC.”

State has asked for opening of more trade routes as the traders of the state have asked for the opening of additional trade routes in view of the non-viability of existing trade routes.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry President,Ram Sahai,said,“The opening of the Suchetgarh-Sialkote road is a more viable option for trade as the transport charges on the Poonch-Rawalkote road are much higher. The Poonch-Rawalkote route is a loss making route for us. On the contrary the travel distance on Suchetgarh-Sialkote route is much less.”

Sahai also added,“There is an outside investment of Rs 5000 crore in the consumable products and the engineering goods in the state and the opening of the Suchetgarh-Sialkote route will be a boon to the trade of the state.”

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