The drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls and ascendancy of the BJP to power at the Centre seem to have chief minister Omar Abdullah hardening his position on a number of issues related to Kashmir.
Abdullah on Wednesday said he would forcefully take up the issues faced by the traders involved in the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade with the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Describing cross-LoC trade an important confidence building measure (CBM), the chief minister said, “This needed to be strengthened further.”
Omar’s vociferous support to the LoC trade comes just as the new leadership takes the reins of power at the Centre. The chief minister said the issues faced at the state level would be addressed on ‘fast track’.
“Those pertaining to the Government of India will be taken up at the appropriate levels concerned. The state government has already made the government of India aware of the difficulties of traders engaged in the trade for want of communication and banking facilities,” said Abdullah.
He made these assurances to a Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKJCCI) deputation in Srinagar during a meeting with its president YV Sharma.
The JKJCCI also submitted a memorandum to the chief minister. “The delegation highlighted the demand of revision of list being traded right now,” said an official spokesman.
The delegation also asked for the constitution of a committee of economists to study the potential and make recommendation for the promotion of cross- LoC trade.
The traders sought the government help to improve infrastructural facilities at trading points by expanding warehousing and cold storage facilities.
Besides, the delegation demanded full body truck scanners for clearance of consignments.
“The issue of providing two full body truck scanners has already been taken up with the Centre and the matter will be further pursued there,” said the chief minister.
The traders also stressed upon the need to create a mechanism for regular monthly meetings at the zero line along trade facilitation centres by the Cross-LoC traders for disposal of disputes.
The meeting was attended by principal secretary to the chief minister BB Vyas.