Salamabad, the forward area of Kashmir Valley, made history this morning with Governor Mr. N. N. Vohra flagging off a caravan of 13 trucks loaded with commodities, marking the commencement of the much-awaited Cross-LoC Trade on the Uri-Muzaffarabad Road.
As the trucks moved towards the Kaman Post, an enthusiastic crowd of men, women and children, cheered and jostled with each other to catch a glimpse of the decorated merchandise fleet as it made its way across the mountains, into PoK.
Addressing the enthusiastic crowd at a specially-organised function, the Governor described the Cross-LoC Trade as an important Confidence Building Measure (CBM) aimed at normalizing Indo-Pak relations. He said the people of J&K would benefit from this measure as the trade links would open up new vistas of economic progress in the region.Mr. Vohra dwelt on the background of resuming the trade links with PoK and said that the need for people–to-people contacts had been felt during the interactions with various social and political organisations a few years ago when the Prime Minister’s Round Table Conference on J&K had constituted five Working Groups on different subjects. He said the bus service has successfully been plying on these two routes and the beginning of trade is yet another milestone in strengthening the relations with Pakistan.
Referring to the recent visit of the PoK Chamber to the Valley, the Governor said such visits were imperative for examining the whole gamut of trading between the two sides. He expressed the hope that as the trade between the two sides progresses, the range and volume of goods to be imported or exported would simultaneously increase.
The Governor complimented the District Administration, Baramulla for raising the basic infrastructure for the Trade Facilitation Centre in a record time. He said the work on the second phase of the trading complex will be taken up soon.
Earlier, Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, Dr. Pawan Kotwal welcomed the Governor and other dignitaries.
Advisor to Governor Dr. S.S. Bloeria, Chairman Legislative Council Mr. Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjoora, Chairman J&K Bank and Economic Advisor to the Government, Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Principal Secretary to Governor Mr. B.B. Vyas, KCCI President Dr. Mubeen Shah and representatives of various trade associations were also present on the occasion.
The Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla Mr. Baseer Khan and the District Officers were present at the flagging off ceremony.
The people of the area greeted the Governor on his arrival to commence the historic Cross-LoC-Trade. Schoolchildren also presented a variety programme on the occasion.