Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has authorised the state Department of Industries and Commerce to work out the modalities for establishing banking facilities for cross LoC trade. This Cabinet decision aims to give fillip to the sluggish trade between the two parts of Kashmir.
The ruling People’s Democratic Party has described this development as an important CBM between India and Pakistan. In the Cabinet meeting, Mehbooba Mufti also hailed the resumption of Foreign Secretary level dialogue between India and Pakistan and said that people of Jammu and Kashmir have the highest stakes in the peace process between the two countries.
The Reserve Bank of India had earlier given a green signal for establishment of banking system between the two parts of Kashmir to carry on cross LoC trade. Giving the information about the Cabinet decision, senior PDP Minister Nayeem Akhtar, who is also the government spokesperson, said that banking mechanism for cross LoC trade would be in place very soon.
Many times in the past, cross LoC trade was halted for weeks after trucks plying from across the border were confiscated by security agencies along with the contraband. The drivers and the persons involved in the trade were arrested, leading to a halt in trading activity. Currently, cross LoC trade is based on a barter system, in which goods are exchanged, instead of things being purchased by money.
The barter system further added to the confusion as the traders without banking facilities were feeling the heat of accepting goods not to their liking from across the border.
Finally, the Home Ministry decided to install full chest scanners for the trucks at Uri Chakan-da-Bagh trade point in Poonch.
The PDP-BJP government has also decided to develop tourism infrastructure at two border points in Jammu region to give fillip to border tourism.