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Mufti vows to take cross LoC trade to next level

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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Saturday said the cross Line of Control (LoC) trade and travel was the biggest breakthrough in the state’s history and vowed to take cross LoC trade to the next level.

Addressing a high-level meeting at Chakan Da Bagh trade facilitation in Poonch district, Sayeed placed high priority on extending telecom and banking facility to broaden the scope of cross LoC trade which is presently being transacted on a barter system.

He also favoured inclusion of additional tradable items to give a fillip to local industry in the state.

“I will take up the matter at the highest level so that Pakistan is convinced to agree to the proposal in the next meeting of the Joint Working Group between the two countries,” he said while referring to extending telecom and banking facilities at both Salamabad (Baramulla) and Chakan da Bagh (Poonch) trading points.

Reiterating his resolve to take cross LoC trade and travel forward, Sayeed said he was pleasantly surprised by the volume of trade transacted at both Salamabad and Chaka da Bagh through barter system.

“It would be my endeavour to take this trade to the next level by putting in place banking and telecommunication facility to demystify the trade for which we expect a positive response from Pakistan,” he added.

To bolster trade and ease travel across the LoC, Sayeed said he was determined to make both Chaka da Bagh and Salamabad show windows. “We also need to take effective steps for promoting export of famed handicraft products of the state.”

Full-body truck scanners will also be installed at both trading points shortly, which will facilitate increase in the quantum of trade, an official said.

As per available figures, the volume of trade at Chakan da Bagh has been to the tune of Rs.1,080 crore since 2008. While the volume of trade at Salamabad trading point has been to the tune of Rs.1,700 crore.

The cross LoC trade, started in 2008, takes place four days a week between Tuesday to Friday. As many as 303 traders are registered and 21 items are on the list of cross LoC trade.

The chief minister on Saturday laid the foundation stone of the 42-km long Loran-Gulmarg road that would connect Poonch district of Jammu region with Baramulla district of the Kashmir Valley.