Uttarakhand govt to bring back lost prosperity to Gunji:Pant

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Dehradun, Sep 20 (UNI) The Uttarakhand Government is contemplating bringing back the lost prosperity of Gunji area, on the Sino-India border, in Pithoragarh district of the state, known for border trade through Lipulekh Pass between India and China.

State Tourism Minister Prakash Pant told reporters today that the area known as Byas Ghati, that included 22 villages in Dharchula, once enjoyed prosperity following healthy trade relations between India and China. The situation however changed with the termination of trade due to the Indo-China war.

Though trade resumed in 1992, the export basket this time included only 15 commodities including gur, misri (crystallised sugar) tobacco, spices, pulses, fafar, flour, coffee, vegetable oil/ghee and various miscellaneous consumable items, whereas the import list was restricted to sheep wool, passam, sheep/goats, borax, yak tail, chhirbi (butter) and raw silk.

Mr Pant said due to primitive infrastructure and apathetic attitude of government agencies, the trade was not beneficial to Indian traders. He said forex facilities were not available even today and the barter system still existed. Presently, the ICBT transactions are conducted in Chinese currency and Chinese traders have a trade monopoly, he said.

The Tourism Minister said the number local traders, engaged in the border trade across harsh terrain and adverse weather conditions, stood considerably reduced because of their inability to repatriate their sales proceeds for want of forex facilities. '' We will raise this matter with the Central Government '' he said.

He said the new trade treaty had adversely affected the local people, and also resulted in increased migration. To check thus, the state government had decided to revive the lost glory of the area.

'' The Government will sponsor the Gunji Mela held on Raksha Bandhan day to attract more tourists and connect the area with one of the largest trekking route amongst 110 trekking routes which the state government was drafting to promote adventure tourism in the state. The 179 km long trekking route would be called Adikailash Yatra,'' he said.

UNI

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