SRINAGAR: The cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) is slowly picking up and goods worth Rs 2800 crores were traded in last three years.
J&K Minister for Industries and Commerce, Chander Parkash Ganga informed State Legislative Council today that goods worth Rs 1496.96 crore have been exported through two cross-LoC routes Salamabad-Uri and Chakan da Bagh-Poonch routes from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016.
He said items worth Rs 1307.62 crore have been imported through the two trading routes during the last three years.
The minister said the State Government has taken various steps to encourage the Cross-LoC trade, which was started in October 2008.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti informed the legislators that more cross-LoC points will be opened in the State to facilitate greater movement of people and goods across the borders in the region.
“During my recent meeting with Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, I pitched for opening of Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Kargil-Skardu, Nowshera-Mirpur, Gurez-Astoor-Gilgit, Chhamb-Jourian and some other cross-LoC routes in the State,” she said adding she is hopeful of positive movement forward in this regard.
The CM disclosed that central government has agreed to facilitate banking facility for the cross-LoC trade to institutionalize the existing mechanism. “To begin with the trading will be done in dollars, which is a neutral currency”.
The banking facilities would be established at Salamabad and Chakan-da-Bagh trade facilitation centres. It has been approved by the State Government and the same has been conveyed to the central government.
The cross-LoC trade so far has been restricted to barter system and only 21 items mainly garments, handicrafts, carpets and agricultural are allowed to be traded.
The cross-LoC trade takes places four days a week and upto 50 trucks laden with goods are allowed to ply from both the sides each day.
The traders associated with the cross-LoC trade have been demanding introducing banking facilities and expansion of tradeable items for boosting the trade.
Mehbooba expressed hope that the opening of more trading points and establishing of banking facility will not only help consolidate peace efforts but also boost local economy through increased tourism activities in these areas.