Describing the cross-Line of Control (LoC) travel as one of the most significant confidence building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday said the people-to-people contact needed to go beyond the divided families.
Sayeed urged upon the central government to consider greater and hassle-free to-and-fro movement of cultural troupes, students, pilgrims and tourists across the LoC.
While visiting the trade facilitation centre (TFC) at Salamabad, Uri, on Thursday, the chief minister announced several decisions to strengthen the cross-LoC trade and travel.
Sayeed directed principal secretary, state home department, to coordinate with the Union ministry of home affairs and expedite the clearance of proposed visit of trade delegation to Muzaffarabad for trade-related discussions.
The chief minister also deliberated over the fact that two trade delegations from across the LoC have already visited the state but no delegation from this side has paid a reciprocal visit.
According to the government sources, the joint secretary, Union ministry of external affairs (MEA), has promised to take up the matter in the next meeting of the joint working group (JWG) between India and Pakistan.
On the issue of multiple-entry permit for cross-LoC travellers, the chief minister issued directions to home department to examine the issue in consultation with the MEA.
"Telecom and banking facilities are vital to conduct of cross-LoC trade," Sayeed during his visit to Uri and urged the central government to take up the issues related to banking facilities in the next meeting of JWG.
The chief minister also desired that the modalities between Union home affairs ministry and telecom provider BSNL should be finalised soon to provide international calling facility to traders on both sides of the LoC.
"Demands of the traders for including additional items in the tradable list should be finalised in the meeting of the joint working group at an earliest so that the scope of cross-LoC trade is further broadened," stressed the chief minister."
He also directed that a single window clearance mechanism should be immediately put in place to ensure hassle-free movement of passengers and trucks.
The sub-district magistrate, Uri, has been tasked to perform additional duties as nodal officer till such time regular arrangement is made.
Placing high priority on development of infrastructure facilities for all stakeholders, the chief minister asked managing director JK tourism development corporation (TDC) to work out the modalities for transfer of land for setting up of residential accommodation for officers of civil and police administration, which are essentially required to be stationed at Salamabad.
Mufti Sayeed also assigned police the responsibility of providing fool-proof security clearance to trucks at Salamabad.
The authorities were also directed to make suitable arrangements for parking of vehicles at TFC Salamabad and creation of additional hall.
He urged the Union ministry of home affairs and MEA to sanction detailed project for infrastructure up-gradation, in particular, procurement of full body scanners to make movement of people and goods across the LoC smooth.
The chief minister also visited the Kaman Post, 10 years after the cross-LoC travel began in 2005 during his first tenure as the chief minister of the state.
Mufti Sayeed is also scheduled to visit Chakan da Bagh, in Poonch, on Friday to take similar review of the cross-LoC trade and travel.