Facilities for trade through Muzaffarabad Road near completion

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Srinagar, Sep 2 (UNI) With a view to commence Cross-LoC Trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pak-occupied-Kashmir through Muzaffarabad Road in Kashmir, the infrastructural facilities at Salamabad, near Uri, on this side of the Line of Control, are nearing completion.

This was stated at a high level meeting, chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Governor, N N Vohra, held here today to review the status of various facilities being put in place for facilitating the trans-LoC trade.

While 95 per cent of the required work for raising pre-fabricated structures providing warehousing, immigration and customs facilities, scanning units and weighing bridges have been completed, the sprucing up of the 12-kilometer border stretch from Salamabad to the Kaman Post is proceeding apace, he said.

The first six kilometers of the upgraded double-laned road have been block topped. The Governor directed that the remaining stretch should be completed by the seventh of October 2008, by working on overtime basis.

The Governor observed that while the bare minimum infrastructure raised at Salamabad would be used for starting the process of trade through Muzaffarabad, work on the required additional facilities shall be simultaneously taken up.

He directed each of the officers concerned to set in motion the land acquiring process immediately and reiterated that the required infrastructure and facilities must be completed on a time-bound basis.

Mr Vohra also stressed the need for creating adequate infrastructure facilities at Chaka-da-Bagh in Poonch for commencing trade through the Poonch-Rawalakote Road.

He called for a close coordination between various ministeries and government departments for ensuring timely raising of necessary infrastructure for this purpose.

The Governor designated the State Industries and Commerce Department as the Nodal Agency for the trans-border trade and announced a budgetary grant of Rs three crore, Rs two crore for creating facilties at Salamabad in Uri and Rs one crore for Chaka-da-Bagh in Poonch.

He also directed a time-bound action to acquire an additional area of 34 kanals of land at Salamabad for augumenting the infrastructure facilities.

The meeting was informed that for finalising the modalities for the commencement of trade, an exchange of delegations from Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the Kashmir Valley had been proposed a long time ago.

While India had cleared the visit of a group of PoK Chamber of Industries and Commerce members, the clearance from Pakistan was still awaited for the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries' members, who would be visiting PoK.

Those present in the meeting included the Advisors of the Governor, H H Tyabji, S S Bloeria, C Phunsog, Chief Secretary, S S Kapur, Financial Commissioner, Planning, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretary Home, Anil Goswami, Principal Secretary to Governor, B B Vyas, Director General of Police (CID), Ashok Bhan, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Masud Samoon, Commissioner Customs, Devinder Singh, IGP Headquarters, P L Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Baseer Khan, Chief Engineer, Beacons, Brig Bhutani, Regional Passport Officer, B S Manabanan and Arun Choudhry, Ministry of Home Affairs.

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