Mufti for increase in number of items traded along LoC

Govt exchanges list of 72 items with PaK officials
Mufti for increase in number of items traded along LoCChief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, has conveyed to the Government of India (GoI) the need for boosting the cross-LoC trade by increasing the number of trade able items.
Sources said Mufti conveyed this to the team of top government officials of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) headed by Joint Secretary Kashmir Affairs, Rajit Punhani during a meeting here, last Thursday.
They said J&K government has already conveyed to GoI that it intends to increase the list of trade able items for cross-LoC trade to 72 from the present 21.
“The state government has already cleared the list, which has also been submitted to authorities in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PAK), who in turn have also handed over their list of items to the government,” sources said.
They said a meeting was held with the PaK officials during which list of 72 trade able items was handed over to them.
“The list would be cleared later at the India-Pakistan foreign secretary level meeting between India and Pakistan,’’ said a senior government official.
Sources in Industries and Commerce department said during the meeting with the MHA team, the state government has shown keenness to upgrade the infrastructure for the LoC trade.
The LoC trade takes place four days a week along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route.
A senior government official said a joint team of Kashmir University (KU) and the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) recently gave a go-ahead to the MHA to install full-body scanners at the cross-LoC trading point.
“The vendors visited the site and the government has given clearance including the pollution certificate for installation of the full-body scanner at the trading point,’’ he said.
Sources said during the meeting with the MHA team, the steps initiated by the state government in streamlining the cross-LoC trade including de-registration of the traders were also discussed.
Custodian Cross-LoC trade, Farooq Ahmad Shah, said many steps have been taken recently to step up the trade.
“We have de-registered many of the people, who were listed as traders but were not themselves doing the trade and were only acting as agents and middlemen,” he said adding in coming months they will build infrastructure to increase the trade.
The cross-LoC trade between the two sides of Kashmir was earlier halted for some days due to the recovery of narcotics haul from a PaK truck.
A senior government official said the enhanced security arrangements for the trade also came up for discussion in the meeting with the CM, where besides other issues the recent steps taken by the government to streamline the trade by seeking the police verification and bank details of the traders were deliberated.

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