LoC trade in Shambles

November 10, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 51 Views
LoC trade in Shambles

The much hyped cross-LoC trade remains mostly suspended. This not only affects the trade but also the peace building measures in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.   This is not the first time that LoC trade has been suspended but there are many instances when the government functionaries and the politicians form the both the sides haven’t shown their political wit to make the cross LoC successful. The barter trade remains marred by bureaucratic hurdles and periodic disruptions.  This cross LoC trade which interestingly started as a Confidence Building Measure (CMB) between India and Pakistan in 2008 has witnessed lot of failures to serve its purpose.  The alternate trade was conceived to boost the economies of two regions administered by India and Pakistan, but the business is still transacted in barter. In the absence of banking facilities, the traders are facing difficulties to recover the money. Also the trade remains suspended for many reasons. It remained suspended after the forces recovered narcotic substances on the Srinagar-Muzafarabad route. Even as Government of India (GoI) had promised that the full body truck scanners will be installed at the two routes of Srinagar-Muzafarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot, this has not been done. The trade on the Poonch-Rawalakote road has remained blocked for the last 17 weeks which has resulted in a loss of over Rs 81 crore. In the backdrop of this development, the authorities  of this state are seeking a  meeting with officials of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) to discuss resumption of cross-LoC travel and trade through the Poonch-Rawalkote road. The trade on the LoC route was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from both sides that caused damage to trade facilitation centers and police barracks. The suspension of the trade comes even as it was deemed as a major confidence measure between India and Pakistan. The trade was started after series of meetings between Indian and Pakistani officials. But apart from lack of banking facilities the business has remained restricted to only 21 items. Though the state government had pitched for increasing the list of items that were to be allowed for trade, the GoI has not approved it. Due to the lack of proper regulation also the traders are facing difficulties in transacting the business. There is a chronic staff shortage at the trade facilitation centers at Barmaulla and Poonch due to which checking of vehicles takes a longer time. All those issues which have only blocked the trade need to be reviewed and done away with. It should be priority of the two governments of India and Pakistan  to sort out the differences relating to the running of the trade. Steps should be taken to resume the business. Though the firing has stopped along the LoC the trade has still been kept suspended along the Poonch-Rawalakote route. State government has committed to the opening of different trade links between India and Pakistan and it should fulfill those promises. The cross LoC trade which started as a confidence building measure between India and Pakistan in 2008 has however failed to serve its purpose. The alternate trade was conceived to boost the economies of two regions administered by India and Pakistan, but the business is still transacted in barter. In the absence of banking facilities, the traders are facing difficulties to recover the money. Also the trade remains suspended for many reasons. It remained suspended after the forces recovered narcotic substances on the Srinagar-Muzafarabad route. Even as  Government of India (GoI) had promised that the full body truck scanners will be installed at the two routes of Srinagar-Muzafarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot, this has not been done. The trade on the Poonch-Rawalakote road has remained blocked for the last 17 weeks which has resulted in a loss of over Rs 81 crore. In the backdrop of this development, the authorities  of this state are seeking a  meeting with officials of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) to discuss resumption of cross-LoC travel and trade through the Poonch-Rawalkote road. The trade on the LoC route was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from both sides that caused damage to trade facilitation centers and police barracks. The suspension of the trade comes even as it was deemed as a major confidence measure between India and Pakistan.

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