Delays in clearance hamper trade with China at Shipki La Pass

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2014 21:00 IST

If it was the rain-triggered landslides last year that had delayed cross border trade with China through Shipki La Pass in Kinnaur district, this year it's the procedural delays on the part of government barring Indian traders to cross the borders.

This year as many as 120 persons had applied for trade passes through Shipki La Pass. In the end of June, tehsildar Pooh had forwarded 120 applications to the department of home for mandatory clearance. However, there have been inordinate delays in clearing names forwarded to seek trade passes. After the file remained pending with home department names of traders have now been forwarded to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of police for verification.

Till last year, the verification of traders was done by central intelligence agencies. "We have forwarded the list of traders to the CID for verification," official of the home department confirmed to Hindustan Times.

"It's just a few days back that we have received information from the home department that it will take time for verifying the credentials of the traders," an officer in the CID said.

Usually, the trade begins in June and closes by December, when the mountain pass is closed due to snow. Last year, the trade had started late due to rain-triggered floods which had caused heavy damages to the national highway connecting the border areas. Moreover, the link roads in the areas bordering China were damaged due to landslide.

"Permits to the traders will be issued as soon as the file is cleared by the home department," Vijay Kumar Roy, tehsildar Pooh, said speaking on telephone.

Shipki La is a high mountain pass and border post on the India-China border at an elevation of 18,599 foot above the sea level. It is through this pass the Sutlej enters India (from Tibet).

The trade through Shipki La Pass opened in 1993. It came to a halt after the Indo-China war in 1962. Ever since, the trade has resumed not even a single Chinese or Tibetan trader has visited the Indian side.

Namgya village is the point fixed for trading on the Indian side. Indian traders carry items like agricultural implements, blankets, copper products, clothes, textiles, cycles, coffee, tea, barley, rice, flour, dry fruit, dry and fresh vegetables, vegetable oil, jaggery and tobacco.

They return with items like jacket. The cross border trade touched a new high last year despite a ban on the trade of livestock comprising major portion of the trade. Last year alone, the total turnover was registered at `5.33 crore.

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