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Trade across LoC hits roadblock again

Posted on Feb 20 2014 | IANS

Srinagar, Feb 20 : Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir failed to take off Thursday as traders alleged stringent security measures stalled their routine trading activities.

After the deadlock over the arrest of a Pakistani driver from whose vehicle 114 packets of brown sugar were recovered here Jan 17 was resolved by Indian and Pakistan authorities, trade across the LoC was scheduled to re-start Thursday between Indian and Pakistan administered parts of Kashmir.

Traders at the Salamabad trade facilitation centre in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, however, said Thursday security checking of their goods resulted in huge losses. Many were forced to suspend the passage of their loaded trucks to Chakote near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Hilal Ahmad Turki, secretary of Salamabad-Chakote Traders Association, told IANS that security checking of goods caused huge losses to local traders Thursday.

"They scattered trade goods loaded in vehicles that were scheduled to cross the LoC today (Thursday). One of our traders has suffered a loss of around Rs.2 lakh."

"If the authorities do not want us to carry on trading, we should be told that in clear terms. Tactics like this would force us to give up the trade completely," he said.

Turki also said the trade authorities must install scanners so that physical checking of loaded trucks is avoided.

"If the same security drill is adopted when we trade in perishable items like fruits and vegetables during the summer months, then what would happen?" he said.

Indian trade officials said they had received a letter from their Pakistan counterparts that a meeting should be held between the traders of the two sides before the cross-LoC trade is resumed.

"Tentatively, the date for the meeting has been fixed for Monday at the Kaman Post on the LoC," a trade official told IANS.

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