PoK,J&K resume trade after govt promises more storage facility

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Srinagar, Jan 18 (PTI) The cross-border trade betweenPakistan occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir resumed todayafter the state government promised construction of additionalstorage facility within a month to store goods awaitingsecurity clearance, said official sources.

More than 130 vehicles, loaded with spices, dry fruitand handicraft, crossed the Aman Setu (Peace Bridge) on theSrinagar-Muzaffarabad route at Kaman post, the sources said.

They said while 72 trucks -- mostly carrying redchillies -- were exported to Muzaffarabad, over 65 truckscarrying dry fruit from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)enteredthe Indian state.

Traders had earlier suspended cross-border trade for twoweeks, alleging that the state government was not payingadequate attention to lack of storage facilities for theirgoods at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre.

They had claimed that they had suffered losses worth Rs 7crores due to rainfall in the last week of December last year,as the goods were kept in the open pending security clearance.

The traders agreed to resume trade only after BaramullaDistrict administration promised to get the additional storagefacility constructed within one month.

The state government has earmarked an amount of Rs 40crore for upgrading the facilities for traders and passengersusing the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote routesfor cross-LoC trade and travel.

The trans-LOC trade started in 2008, three years afterSrinagar-Muzaffarabad road was opened for weekly bus serviceto facilitate meeting of divided families and was billed asmother of all confidence building measures for restoring peacein Jammu and Kashmir.

The cross-LOC trade has already crossed Rs 400 crore markand is expanding at a rapid pace despite lack of directcommunication and banking facilities.

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