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Cross LoC trade: Biggest Indo-Pak CBM dying slow death

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Dec 27: Ten years on, the Cross-LoC (Line of Control) trade is dying a slow death in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

From reducing substantially in the approved tradable items to a cumbersome barter trading system, the Cross-LoC trade is showing signs of stagnation sending shivers through the traders community across J&K.

Started in October 2008, the Cross-LoC trade was considered as the mother of all confidence-building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan. However, the trade could not grow beyond the barter system. Lack of efficient banking and communication facilities added to the woes of the traders.
“It is unfortunate that one of the most important Confidence Building Measures initiated by the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan ten years ago, was dying a slow death due to the absence of proper follow-up action,” Rakesh Gupta, president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said.

 

There are two Cross LoC routes — Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir valley and Poonch-Rawalakote route in Jammu division — which are being used to ferry goods between J&K and Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK). More than 600 traders are registered for the cross LoC trade and 21 items are on the approved export and import list from both routes.

“Only five to six items on the list are now being traded. These include fresh fruits, dry fruits, and herbs. Species are in the export list but not import. Five per cent GST is imposed on the items to be exported and 12 per cent is levied on the imports, which is not matching. Plus if one item is stopped from this side, the other side stops another. For example, they suspended coconut from this side temporarily and the other side, as a result, stopped sending pulses,” Pawan Anand, president, Cross-LOC Trade, Chakan Da Bagh, Poonch said.

Official figures reveal that goods worth Rs 946 crore have been exported to PaK from Jammu and Kashmir through Poonch-Rawlakote road from 2008-09 till August 2018. Similarly, goods worth Rs 826 crore have been imported from PaK through Poonch-Rawlakote road 2008-09 till August 2018.

According to the figures released by the Cross-LoC Trade Union, goods worth Rs 6,700 crore have been traded between the two sides from Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road since 2008-09. “It is a barter trade. There is no banking system. We have been saying for the last ten years that there should be an increase in the number of trading items. Instead, they are deleting existing items from the list,” said Hilal A Turkey, chairman, Cross-LOC Trade, Uri.
What has complicated the problem is that the trade delegation from Kashmir has not been allowed to travel to PaK for trade talks. “Business delegation from PaK has visited this side thrice but we were not allowed. Both the countries had significantly moved forward with regard to the Kartarpur-Amritsar Corridor, no such forward movement was visible in the case of our State,” Gupta said.


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Kashmir

JK Govt yet to get intimation on ECI teams visit

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 23: Jammu and Kashmir government is yet to get a formal intimation from the Election Commission of India of a proposed visit of a commission’s team for on spot assessment of the situation for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.
Official sources privy to developments on the conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state told that neither the government nor the office of Chief Electoral officer has got a formal intimation from the election commission of India on the visit of a team of the commission expected to make an on spot assessment of the situation before the commission takes a call on the simultaneous conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state or the holding of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections separately.
A top government official on conditions of anonymity told, “We are yet to get both the government and the office of the chief electoral officer is yet to get any intimation on the proposed visit of a team of the election commission of India for on spot assessment of the situation before a final decision on simultaneous or separate conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state.
However may be we get a call from the election commission of India on the proposed visit of its team even on January 27 as speculated in some media reports.”
Earlier, there were reports that a team of the Election Commission will soon visit Jammu and Kashmir to review the situation with political leaders and other stakeholders on polls in the state.
“A team of Election Commission will visit the state soon to have a review of situation with political leaders and other stakeholders for holding the elections,” state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar had said.
On the issue of holding of simultaneous polls, the CEO informed that his office had already taken necessary steps for holding the elections, but decision lies with the Election Commission, who would take a final call at an appropriate time after taking all aspects into consideration.

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Kashmir

Injured Habba Kadal youth responding to treatment

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jan 23: The youth from Srinagar’s Habba Kadal area, who was critically injured after CRPF personnel allegedly hurled a stone at him on Tuesday, is responding to the treatment, doctors at SK Institute of Medical Sciences told The Kashmir Monitor.

Mohammad Younis, who, as per his family, had gone to fetch vegetables, suffered a skull fracture after a stone hit him during clashes in Habba Kadal.

Initially, he was taken to SMHS hospital but the doctors referred him to SKIMS as he was stated to be critical.

 

Medical Superintendent (MS), SKIMS Dr Farooq Jan said that Younis is being treated in the surgical observation unit of the hospital.

“Patient is okay. As of now, there is no need to worry. We are closely monitoring him,” he said.

The CRPF spokesman had claimed the youth “slipped and fell down while being chased”.

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Kashmir

Weatherman predicts week-long dry spell in Valley

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Srinagar, Jan 23: After three-day long wet spell across Kashmir, the weather on Wednesday showed improvement with local meteorological department forecasting dry weather till January 29.
The three-day-long wet spell ended across the Valley today. The MeT department had predicted improvement in the weather conditions from Tuesday evening.
The local Meteorological department told that there is no forecast of rain or snowfall across the Valley till January 29 here, saying that the weather would remain cloudy on Jan 25.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan has issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of Kashmir division on Wednesday.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche prone areas of district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh of J&K state.
As per a hand out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has asked the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid the loss of lives.
The Div Com also directed the concerned DCs to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.

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