Assembly: ‘Only GoI Talks to Pakistan on LoC Trade,’ Government says

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

A file photo of 'Kaman-Aman' Setu bridge.
A file photo of ‘Kaman-Aman’ Setu bridge in Uri.

Jammu and Kashmir Government on Saturday said that there was no committee from state working Pakistan on Cross-LoC trade.

During Question Hour, a few legislators raised supplementaries about the cross Line of Control Trade.

Industries Minister, Chandra Prakash Ganga told the house that any sort of deliberation on LoC Trade with Pakistan is taken up only at Union Ministry of Home Affairs or Union Ministry of External Affairs.

“There is no committee in J&K which is working on LoC Trade,” Ganga responded to issue raised by Independent Lawmaker, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen Shah. “Deliberations happen only at MHA or MEA level.”

Chandra Prakash Ganga
Chandra Prakash Ganga

The question was raised by BJP’s Rajesh Gupta who had asked government about the start and estimated goods traded through LoC in J&K. The LoC trade started on November 21, 2008 through two crossing points including Salamabad, Uri and Chakan-da-Bagh Poonch.

Later, Hakeem informed the house that a “committee was formed in J&K to look after LoC Trade and take up issues related to it with Pakistan” which started in 2008.

After government response, Hakeem pressed his supplementary asserting that a “committee was formed”, the minister replied, “it is not working.”

In his supplementary, Langate Lawmaker, Er Sheikh Ab Rasheed asked government whether it has any plans to include fruit in the agreed list of things which are bartered at LoC Trade points.

“We a list of 21 agreed trade items and fruit is included in it,” Ganga replied.

Rasheed believed that inclusion of fruit in the trading list will help the industry in Kashmir. “If it is in the list, why are you not starting the fruit trade,” the Langate Lawmaker asked the government. “If it starts, the Kashmir fruit will be able to reach far off countries besides Pakistan market.”

PDP’s Karnah Lawmaker,, Raja Manzoor, asked government whether it will include walnut and apple in the list of trading items at Teetwal crossing point.

“At present, no trade takes place at Teetwal crossing point,” the Minister informed the house. However, he said that J&K government has recommended and given NoC to seven crossing points to start trade. “Teetwal includes in it but it is not up to MHA,” he said.

Raja Manzoor observed that North Kashmir’s Kupwara produces huge quantity of Walnut and this industry will get boost if it is included in the trade list.

Meanwhile, the government in written reply to Lawmaker Rajesh Gupta said that total trade worth Rs 2679.8949 Crores was exported since 2008 up to May 31, 2016 through these two trade points while trade worth Rs 2512.3395 was imported in the same time period.

The break-up details are:

Salamabad, Uri: Import (Rs 1832.2071 Cr); Export (Rs 2052.2797 Cr)

Chakan-da-Bagh Poonch: Import (Rs 680.1323 Cr); Export (Rs 627.6152 Cr).

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