Infrastructure for cross-border trade reviewed in Kashmir

September 6th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 6 (IANS) A high-level central government team Saturday inspected the facilities for trade with Pakistan through the Kashmir Valley. The visit comes after Kashmiris’ demand to open cross-border commerce links following protests over the Amarnath land row and subsequent blockade of the only motorable road link to the valley.A delegation of officer from ministries of home, external affairs and finance visited the Kaman Post, last point on the Indian side on the Line of Control (LoC) and the upcoming land customs station at Salamabad near the Uri border town in Baramulla district of north Kashmir.

The team comprised joint secretary (external affairs) Raghavan, joint secretary (home) S. Sikandan, commissioner (customs) Purti and S. Devinder Singh, commissioner (customs) of the Jammu and Kashmir government.

A team of senior state government officers and military commanders accompanied the central team.

Political parties, both mainstream as well as the separatists in the Muslim-majority valley, have been demanding the opening of cross-border trade links after agitators in Jammu, protesting the revocation of land order favouring a Hindu temple trust, allegedly forced “economic blockade” against the valley by blocking Srinagar-Jammu National Highway - the only motorable road link to Kashmir.

Protests in Jammu were silenced after the government allowed a temple trust temporary use of the forest land in north Kashmir for Hindus who make annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath. But the agitation continues in Kashmir.

The team had an elaborate inspection of the facilities already created at Salamabad for conducting the proposed duty-free trans-LoC trade between the two parts of divided Kashmir.

The team is scheduled to visit Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch Sunday for facilitating the cross-LoC trade through the Poonch-Rawalakote route in the Jammu region.

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