SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday disclosed that goods worth Rs 3432 crores have been traded between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir (Pak) via cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade during last three years.
“The goods worth Rs 2367.82 crores were traded between J&K and Pak via cross-LoC trade through Salamabad, Uri cross point in north Kashmir in last three years,” Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga informed J&K Legislative Council in a written reply to a question of National Conference MLC Shehnaz Ganai today.
The over month long budget session of J&K Assembly is going on in Jammu, winter capital of the State, and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu is scheduled to present the budget on Thursday.
Ganga said the good worth Rs 1274.43 crores were also traded by J&K traders and goods worth Rs 1093. 39 crores were traded by PaK businessman through the Salamabad, Uri crossing point.
He said the goods worth Rs 1065. 12 crores were traded by the traders through Chakan Da Bagh LoC crossing point in Poonch district in last three years.
The minister said items worth Rs 402.34 crores were traded by traders of the state through Chakan Da Bagh LoC crossing point and 662.78 crores were traded by PaK traders.
The cross-LoC trade between two parts of Kashmir was started by India and Pakistan as a major confidence building measure via Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot LoC routes in 2008.
The traders of the two sides are allowed to do cross-LoC trade in 21 items.
The industries minister said the state government has requested the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for inclusion of 21 additional items in the list of items traded-out across the LoC.
“A final decision is to be taken by Government of India and Pakistan mutually following due process of bilateral diplomatic protocol,” he said.
The traders have been demanding increasing the tradeable items from present 21.
On traders demand to increase the cross-LoC trading points, Ganga said J&K government through Home department has conveyed its support and agreement to the opening of 7 additional trade routes and two additional contact/meeting points as recommended by the Working Group.
He said the final decision in this regard is to be taken by government of India and Pakistan mutually.
The trade is presently taking place through barter system and traders involved in cross-LoC trade have been demanding banking facilities.
“The State government has conveyed its agreement for establishing of banking facility for cross-LoC trade to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The final decision, however, is to be taken up further by government of India in consultation and mutual agreement with government of Pakistan,” the J&K Industries minister said.