Kashmir fruit traders to suspend trade across Line of Control

November 10th, 2008 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 10 (IANS) Fruit growers and traders in the Kashmir Valley have decided not to send their consignments across the Line of Control (LoC) Tuesday due to lack of communication, banking arrangements and contact with traders across the border.”We have no knowledge about what happened to the 7,000 boxes of fruit we have already sent to Muzaffarabad since the LoC trade began Oct 21,” Farooq Ahmad Malik, president of the Valley’s fruit buyers’ association, said here Monday. The LoC divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

“The fruit consignments amount to Rs.3.5 million (Rs.35 lakh) and we don’t even know whether these have been sold at all or not,” Malik said.

The traders have decided not to resume the cross-LoC trade unless the government here allows a delegation of fruit traders to visit Muzaffarabad and work out modalities with their counterparts there.

The traders and growers also demanded the government allow telephone facilities between the Valley and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

“At the moment, we only have access to traders in Muzaffarabad through the Internet, but this facility is not available to everyone.

“Trade without a telephone link is unimaginable anywhere in the world today,” said Malik.

Telephone links between the two sides have been jammed by authorities here to obstruct communication channels of separatist guerrillas across the LoC.

Bridging a six-decade divide, India and Pakistan resumed trade across the LoC Oct 21 with trucks loaded with good like spices, apples, walnuts and carpets rolling across the de-facto border from both sides.

The cross-LoC trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote routes began for the first time since 1948, when commercial ties snapped following the India-Pakistan war a year after the bloody partition of the subcontinent.

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