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Cross LoC trade becomes a casualty of apathy, says Kashmir industry

twitter-logoPTI | April 20, 2019 | Updated 22:43 IST

Srinagar, Apr 20 (PTI) The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Saturday said it was unfortunate that Cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, which was suspended by the Centre on Thursday, has become "a casualty of indifference and apathy". "It is unfortunate that the cross-LoC trade which had been introduced as a trade for peace and was one of the most important CBMs agreed to by the top leadership of both the countries, had become a casualty of indifference and apathy," a spokesman of the KCCI said. He said the KCCI objects to the "defamatory campaign" against and suspension of the cross-LoC trade. The issue, he said, was discussed in an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the body on Saturday. The spokesman said over the years, no effective steps were taken to implement various suggestions given by the stakeholders. "Demands aimed at bringing transparency to the trade including installation of a full body scanner, CCTV's, banking facility, communication infrastructure, re-verification of traders, regular rotation of officials posted at Trade Facilitation Centres etc have been ignored. The decision of installation of full body scanner has been taken several years ago but has been caught in procedural delays," he said. In July 2018, the spokesman said, the then Governor of the state N N Vohra had issued deadlines for the implementation of these measures, but till date, no action has been taken, resulting in the suspension of the trade itself. "The statements regarding misuse and manipulation of the trade indicate serious flaws in the guidelines of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's). The allegation that businessman Zahoor Ahmed Wattali was the president of LoC Traders Association is also unsubstantiated as per our knowledge. "This has allowed the alleged flow of narcotics, fake currency and weapons into the state. In view of the serious nature of the allegations, responsibility needs to be fixed for the glaring lapses," the spokesman said. He said the order of suspension has been issued without taking into account the difficulties genuine traders would be facing. "No opportunity has been given to settle accounts and traders have been left with huge stocks, many of them perishable, which would be of no use. In addition, thousands of persons connected with the trade have been rendered jobless and in debt," the KCCI spokesman said. PTI SSB MR MR

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