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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

Srinagar Admn to replicate Delhi model for establishing Smart Schools

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, May 22: After Moholla clinics, the Srinagar district administration is all set to replicate Delhi model for establishing Smart Schools in the summer capital city.

The government has framed a list of 25 schools from the entire district to be identified in the smart school project in a bid to improve the education in the primary and middle schools in the Srinagar city.

 “After a study of Delhi model, we’ve taken up 25 Govt schools for a smart school project. Made good use of #BudhaPurnima holiday in gathering the first-hand survey of needs. Students, teachers contributed brilliant ideas. More local suggestions are welcome”, tweeted Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, district development commissioner Srinagar,

 

Later speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Choudhary said they earlier had sent a team to Delhi where they studied two to three model school both from government and private sector.

“The Idea is to improve the infrastructure in the identified school and the academic part. We are currently focusing on the soft skills including the proper training of teachers and involvement of the community,” he said.

Shahid said that they are going to enhance the capability of students and whatever it will cost they are ready to bear the expenses. “Initially we are starting with Rs five crores for the project,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner noted that they are going to focus on primary and middle schools. “We already have smart higher secondary schools in place but students while reaching to that level have little knowledge of the smart appliances”, he said

“The student-teacher ratio in government school is 1:5 which is quite good while that of private school is 1:22. All we have to do is to make good use of human resource and provide quality education in the government school,” he said.

Around 20 agencies from outside are involved in this project like one who delivers capsules on moral values and skill development.

“We will start career counseling on the primary and secondary level also. Initially 120 schools were selected and undergo certain competition out of which 52 students were selected and out of 52 only 25 were selected,” he said.

The schools selected for the project include Boys Middle School, Gagribal, Boys Middle School Drugjua, Middle School Allochibagh, Girls Midle School Panzinara, Middle School Cheki Mujigund, Middle School Khojabagh, Girls Middle School Boatman Colony, Middle School Kothi Bagh, Middle School ApparPora Balhama, Primary School Gundabal, Middle School Chatterhama, Girls Middle School Buchpora, Middle School Panjkarwari, Boys Middle School Habak, Boys Middle School Hazratbal, Boys Middle School Zakura, Middle School Pamposh Colony, Girls Middle School Ahmad Nagar, Middle School Saida Kadal, Middle School Saderbal, Middle School Daribal, Girls Middle School Soura, Middle School Taploo Muhalla, Hawal, Middle School Khan Muhalla Iddgah, Middle School Q D Pora, Zaldagar.

“The project will be completed within six months of the time period”, Shahid said.

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Kashmir

Authorities fail to check the skyrocketing prices of essentials

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 22: Much publicized market checking teams constituted by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (DFCSCA) have failed to control the steep price-rise of the essential commodities in the holy months of Ramzan.

A kilogram of cabbage is selling at Rs 80 and before Ramzan the vegetable used to sell at Rs 30-40 per kilo. Beans, in most of the valley markets is selling at Rs 100, which is Rs 40 more compared to pre Ramzan days. Prices of rest of the vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes, brinjals and green collard ranges between Rs 40 to Rs 50.

Mutton and chicken rates are no different, which too are sold Rs 10-20 higher than the prescribed rates by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs.

 

In Lalchowk, a kilogram of chicken sells at Rs 160, 10 Rs more than the prescribed rate. The rates vary as one heads towards north or south Kashmir where a kilogram of chicken cost up to Rs170.

Being a mutton consuming region, a kilogram of mutton sells at Rs 520-530 throughout the valley. The government prescribed rates stand at Rs 450 per kilogram.

The sudden hike in essentials is leaving the consumer furious, who question the outcome of frequent raids by the authorities.

“This has become a norm for the traders during Ramadan. The concerned department often tours markets but fail to permanently control the prices of essential commodities,” said Muhammad Yaqoob a customer from Srinagar’s Barbarshah area.

Expressing helplessness to control the price hike, Director DFCS&CA, Muhammad Qasim Wani said the closure of the highway mostly paves way for the hike in the essential commodities in Kashmir.

“We charge the offenders who don’t follow our rates. Actually highway has mostly remained closed due to which the vehicles coming from markets of New Delhi and Punjab remain stranded for days together,” he said.

Wani said the department has its teams in the city and almost 15 members in every district to check rates of the essential commodities.

“The local production will be also available in market by next week,” he added.

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Family of slain Pattan driver appeals police to speed up probe

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, May 22: Family of slain driver Jan Mohammad from Mamoosa village, whose body was retrieved from a stream under mysterious circumstances, has appealed the police to speed up the investigation.

Jan Mohammad of Mamossa in Pattan had left for Srinagar on March 22 to collect the money from the owner of the car.  Since then, he was missing and eventually his body was retrieved from a stream in Chaenbal area of Pattan on April 4.    

Staging protest at Press Enclave, the family members said that police have so far not been able to bring the culprits to book. Jan’s brother, Shabir Ahmad said that the family wants to know who killed their son.

 

Seeking intervention of Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh, Shabir demanded stern punishment to the killers of his brother.

“We even protested on Srinagar –Baramulla highway. It was after Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Baramulla’s assurance that we called off the protest. He told us that 70% of the investigation has been completed,” he said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Baramulla, Abdul Qayoom said that the investigation was on.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Pattan is probing the case. It would reach to the conclusion, within few days. Jan Mohammad has been murdered, initially a missing report was lodged at Police station Pattan, later that was converted into an FIR,” he said.

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