With cross Line of Control (LoC) trade losing its sheen with every passing day, traders at Salamabad in Uri have accused Customs department of demanding duty on apples being brought in from Muzaferabad.
The traders alleged that the list of the items being exchanged across the LoC has been regularly brought down and no revision of the list has been done over last so many years.
“They are not bothered for the traders. They do what suit their will,” traders in Salamabad TFC told a local news agency, KNS. They claimed that the authorities at TFC have stopped apples worth Rs 1.5 crores.
“Custom officials have stopped the supply and are not allowing us to lift it from TFC”, General Secretary Islamabad Chakoti trade union General Secretary Hilal Turki told KNS on Thursday. He added that it appears that the officials want to levy customs duty on apples which is against the SOS.
“This is a custom free intra Kashmir trade and both India and Pakistan have already agreed to keep it custom free, I don’t know why these people become impediment in the process,” asked Turki.
A custom officer at Uri however refused to comment saying he does not know anything about the matter. “I don’t know about this and can’t comment on it,” the official, who did not reveal his identity told KNS over phone.
Cross LoC trade between the two divided parts of Kashmir began in 2008, however, the nature of the trade has been ‘barter’ and both the countries despite repeated demands, have not as yet agreed to open the banking and communication facilities.