Cross Line of Control traders want inclusion of more items in trade list

Trade and industry

Jammu: The cross-LoC (Line of Control in disputed Kashmir) trade, the biggest ever confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan, fails to gain momentum due to apathy of the puppet administration in occupied Kashmir towards the grievances of over 600 traders of the territory associated with trade, Kashmir Media Service KMS reported on Saturday.

General Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir Chamber of Cross-LoC Trade, Hilal Khan, in a media interview here said while the puppet administration had passed verbal instructions exempting exports to Pakistan from Value Added Tax (VAT), resulting in the resumption of trade on June 28, it was not serious about giving the requisite impetus to the trade.

Indian traders suspended trade on March 8 this year after authorities decided to levy VAT on the merchandise being sold to traders from Pakistan. “No doubt the trade has resumed, but in just three or four items. We have been requesting the authorities that more items should be included in trade for making it a meaningful confidence-building measure between the two countries. But so far the government has given us a lukewarm response. It should not victimise cross-LoC traders, as we have kept it alive despite all odds,” he added.

Khan said at least 20,000 transporters, truckers and labourers were associated with trade in the territory. “Under standard operating procedure, 21 items are agreed upon for trade and it has also been mentioned under point number 17 that agreed items can be replaced with other merchandise in case of a shortfall in decided items.”

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