Fruit growers in J-K suspend cross border trade with Pakistan

November 13th, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Srinagar, Nov 13 (ANI): After initial euphoria fruit growers in Jammu and Kashmir are disillusioned with the recently initiated trade across the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan administered Kashmir.

The disenchanted traders cite lack of proper communication and payment as the reasons behind their decision to suspended sending their fruits across the LoC.

The goods we used to send to Muzzafrabad have been stopped, it is now sent to Delhi. There is no proper information for the process, said Nisar Ahmed, a fruit grower.

Trade between the two divided parts of Kashmir had started on October 21, after almost 60 years and since then consignments of vegetables, fruits and dry fruits have been traded across the border.

The fruit growers had sent consignment worth 3.5 million rupees to Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) but are still awaiting payment for their traded consignments of fruit.

The traders have decided not to send any further consignments across the border till the government allows a delegation of fruit traders to visit Muzaffarabad and work out the modalities of payment with their counterparts there. The fruit grower association said the trade is not conducive for them.

There is no cash return in this. It is to be sold on credit. The trader who is going from here would not be selling a carton or two, he will try to sell the goods of full lorry, but whom will he give it to. There should be a bank there, said Jaan Mohd Kachroo, President, Fruit Growers Association.

The traders also want opening of communication links between the two regions in order to enable better communication between the traders on both sides of the LoC.

Twenty-one items have been cleared for trade in the initial phase, but the traders want more items to be added to the list in order to make the trade more profitable.

India and Pakistan allowed limited trade across the LOC in October with the aim of creating “soft borders” allowing the movement of goods through Uri- Muzafarabad route in Kashmir and Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu.

The opening of trade between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir is the latest in a series of tentative peace moves.

A bus service connecting Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, and another service between Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and Rawlakot in Pakistan administered Kashmir is already in operation to facilitate people to people contact on two sides of the LoC. (ANI)

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