Cross-LoC trade resumes, remains suspended from Poonch

Srinagar, Aug 8: The cross-LoC trade on Srinagar- Muzaffarabad road resumed today, more than two weeks after it was suspended following recovery of heroin and brown sugar from a truck coming from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Ahead of the resumption, authorities sealed the Customs Department office at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre at Uri on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route after the staff posted there “absconded” from duty, officials said.
“We sealed the Customs’ office for security reasons as there are official documents related to Cross-LoC trade lying there,” Sub District Magistrate, Uri, Dr Sagar D Doifode, who is also the custodian of cross-LoC trade, said.
“There were apprehensions that these documents could be stolen or damaged by mischievous elements,” he said.
Doifode said the absence of customs officials would not hamper the cross-LoC trade as there were representatives from other central and state agencies present at the trade facilitation centre supervising the security checks.
Required checks have been carried out by police and people from other central agencies here, the official said.
The trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was suspended two weeks ago following recovery of 66.5 kg of heroin and brown sugar valued at over Rs 300 crore from a truck coming from PoK on July 21.
The impasse was resolved at a meeting between officials of the two sides held at Kaman Post last week.
Meanwhile the cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) remained suspended for the fifth consecutive week via the Poonch-Rawalakote road.
Trade across the LoC was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side damaged the Trade Facilitation Centre and police barracks.
“The cross-LoC trade between businessmen in J-K and PoK remained suspended for the fifth consecutive week today,” Custodian of the LoC Trade (Poonch), Mohammad Tanveer said.
Due to closure of the trade, there has been a loss of over Rs 35 crores, the officer said.
The cross-LoC bus services on the Poonch-Rawalakot road between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) also remains suspended for the fifth consecutive week, an official said.
Nearly, 116 PoK residents, who travelled on the Paigam-e- Amun bus service to visit their relatives in J-K, have been held up here for the past four weeks.
Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed its worst skirmishes along LoC as nine soldiers were among the 11 people killed, 18 people injured in the state in July, besides damage to 35 structures.
The cross-LoC trade and travel are considered as major confidence building exercises between India and Pakistan.
The trade is also caught in the controversy over reports that the NIA, which is probing terror funding in Kashmir, may recommend its closure.
However, travel and trade begun on the Kashmir-side via the Uri-Muzaffarabad cross-LoC road yesterday.