On Tuesday, 27 trucks crossed the line of control (LoC) from both sides of the border, marking the beginning of trade ties between Jammu and Kahsmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Thirteen truckloads of fruit, walnut, honey and spices crossed the Kaman Bridge, connecting Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. The trucks unloaded at Chokti town of PoK. From Muzaffarabad, 14 trucks brought rice and rock salt, which were unloaded at Salamabad.
Governor N.N. Vohra, who flagged off trucks leaving for Muzaffarabad at Salamabad, said, “The trade volume would increase with time.” The trucks would cross the LoC every Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Earlier at 10.45 am, H.H. Tayabji, advisor to Vohra, flagged off three trucks to the PoK from Poonch. The trucks, to unload at Titrinote in PoK, are carrying more than 70 quintals of apples, potatoes, bananas and fresh vegetables that the Poonch traders’ body, Beopar Mandal Poonch, has sent as a gift.
Dr Rattan Lal, additional deputy commissioner of Poonch, said, “We will receive the Poonch-bound trucks from the PoK on October 22. It will be an exchange of gifts.” In Srinagar, director of industries Farooq Ahmad said, “The payment modalities are being worked out. Till then, it would a sort of barter system.”
The demand for cross-LoC trade had come in the wake of the alleged ‘economic blockade’ by agitators in Jammu in July in the wake of the Amarnath land row.
The separatists have welcomed it, but want that movements of traders should be free. “It should be like trading with any other state of India,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani, heads of the parallel factions of the All Party Hurriyat Conference said.