Jammu, April 07 (Scoop News) Maintaining that Cross LOC trade is a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM) to bring the two neighboring countries close to each other, the Minister for Finance & Ladakh Affairs, A. R. Rather today called upon the External Affairs Ministries of India and Pakistan to broad base the trade by removing all impediments to make it a hassle free and mutually beneficial economic activity adding that Cross LOC trade also involves cultural and emotional attachments of the people, living on two sides of the borders.
“Not only Cross LOC trade but Cross-border travel restrictions also needed to be relaxed to remix divided families of the 1947 partition”, Rather said while speaking at a function organized to release, the first of its kind, survey report on Cross LOC Trade based on the opinion poll and experiences of the traders engaged with the trade. The event coincides with the 7th anniversary of opening of LOC for travel between
The survey report has been formulated by the Indus Research Foundation (IRF), in association with the Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms based at Mirpur, PoK and supported by Conciliation Resources, a
Rather said people across the Indo-Pak borders are geographically and culturally akin to each other adding that time has proved that 6-long decades of manmade partition couldn’t diminish their emotional and cultural attachments. He said, given the significant developments on global liberalization, time is ripe, for the rulers of both sides, to ponder on the yearning among the people of two sides for peace and coherence and remove all the restrictions in the way of free movement and free trade across the borders.
“Establishment of trade links and movement of goods through Cross LOC Trade is a significant CBM in the post-partition era, for the people across the borders, in view of the decades old traditional hostilities between the two neighboring countries of
Rather said a Banking Model has been proposed for facilitating banking service for LOC trade by the Department of Financial services, Government of India (GOI) to replace existing barter system adding that the matter has been taken up with the Government of Pakistan for their consent. He said the proposed banking model shall be a pure commercial transaction between the banks on the two sides of the LOC without any involvement of the Central Banks. He said Cross LOC trade has been exempted from VAT and the number of trade days increased from 2 to 4 every week to give a big boost to it adding that construction of Trade Facilitation Centers (TFC) at Salamabad, Uri and Chakan-da-Bagh, Poonch on this side of LOC is in full swing at a cost of
Maintaining that the Cross Loc trade is gaining momentum as an important business activity, Rather said the State Government especially, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is very keen for opening more trade routes between two sides of the borders with adequate banking mechanism and tele communication facilities adding ISD facilities are already in place to the trades organization of both the sides and officers related to the Cross LOC trade.
Rather hoped that the first ever perception survey on peace-building and economic potential of Cross LOC trade prepared by IRF will provide a feed back to the concerned authorities on both sides of the LOC for removing all the impediments and bottle necks in the way of Cross LOC trade, adding that the State Government will provide every possible assistance in this regard.
The function was attended by a galaxy of economists, academicians, representatives of business chambers and key stake holders involved in the Cross LOC trade including President, Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce, and Industry, Mubeen Shah, Prof Economics, University Of Jammu, Dipankar Sen Gupta, Former Director General of Police, M.M Khajuria, Former Vice Chancellor, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah, University, Masud Choudhary, Director Indus Research Foundation, Zafar Choudhary, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu, Presidents of Industrial Associations of Bari-Brahmina, and Gangyal and Members of Civil Society .