Trade, travel across LoC not affected by India-Pakistan chill

January 23rd, 2009 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Jan 23 (IANS) The movement of goods and people across the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir has not been affected by the chill in relations between two countries post the 26/11 Mumbai attack, officials say.The weekly crossing of people to and from Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district of Jammu region is going on smoothly.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Poonch, Mohammad Afzal Bhat, told IANS on phone that people coming from Pakistan-administered Kashmir into India had come down to average of about 10 people weekly, while the number of those going from the Indian side was still about 35 every week.

The crossing takes place every Monday. Bhat said that four Mondays from Dec 29 till Jan 19, the number of people crossing over from Pakistani-administered Kashmir was three, 13, 16 and 10 respectively while 44, 27, 38 and 35 went over from the Indian side.

“The number coming from other side has come down but we cannot attribute a reason to that,” he said.

Bhat noted the trade across the LoC, that began in October last year, was picking up. “It was just a fortnightly exchange of gifts up to the middle of December but now the trade is picking up.”

The items sent from the Indian side were mainly fruits, vegetables, shawls, carpets and kidney beans while those coming from Pakistan were fruits, vegetables, footwear for both men and women, dry fruits, shawls, women’s garments and rice.

“Goods from Indian side valued at Rs.20,500 went on Dec 23, which kept gradually picking up and the consignment that went on Jan 20 was worth Rs.367,231,” Bhat said.

The value of goods coming from Pakistan on Dec 23 was Rs.179,570, while the goods that came on Jan 21 were worth Rs.328,880, he added.

Till now goods worth Rs.666,067 were sent to Pakistan from India through Chakan-da-bagh while goods worth Rs.1,288,957 came from Pakistan.

Mohammad Qasim, a general merchandiser in Poonch, told IANS on phone: “Pakistani items are becoming very popular here and people throng to buy them because of emotional value too.”

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