Businessmen engaged in Cross-LoC Trade in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district have suffered a loss of around Rs 50 crore since its suspension, officials said today. The suspension of the trade between India and Pakistan through the district today entered its eighth consecutive week, they said.
The cross-LoC bus service, billed as the biggest confidence building measure between the two countries, is also suspended along the Poonch-Rawalakot route through Chakan-da- Bagh crossing point since July 10. “The cross-LoC Trade was scheduled to take place today but it could not happen. Therefore, it remains suspended for the eighth consecutive week,” custodian of LoC Trade (Poonch), Mohammad Tanveer, told PTI.
He said goods worth Rs 6 to 7 crore used to be traded from this side every week. “The traders suffered a loss of Rs 48 to Rs 56 crore due to the suspension of the Cross-LoC Trade,” Tanveer said. He said goods worth Rs 1,500 crore were traded by businessmen of the divided parts of Kashmir since the start of the facility in 2008.
“The figure covers both import and exported goods that have been traded through Chakan-da-Bagh trade facilitation centre,” he said. The trade, which usually takes place for three days from Tuesday, was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side that damaged trade facilitation centres and police barracks.
Besides Poonch, the Cross-LoC Trade also takes place through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in Uri sector of the Kashmir valley. The Cross-LoC Trade takes place on barter system and has survived opposition from various quarters, including separatists and militants, in the Valley and right-wing political parties in Jammu.
The trade has also been in focus amid reports that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing terror funding in Kashmir, may recommend its closure. However, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last month strongly rooted for cross-LoC trade, stating that her party, the PDP, will not allow its closure and continue to work towards opening more routes across the LoC with Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.