Jammu, April 4 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday said that cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade was not yielding any financial benefits to the state as a financial arrangement was not in place yet.
'It is a barter system, in which our traders are suffering losses, while the other side (traders of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) are gaining. There should be a proper financial mechanism in place if this cross-LoC trade is to qualify as a Confidence-Building Measure (CBM) between the two parts of Kashmir,' Omar told the legislative assembly during question hour Wednesday.
The chief minister sought the support of the house in sending a message across to both, India and Pakistan on this. 'It is the right time as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in a few days' time,' he said.
Manmohan Singh and Zardari are scheduled to meet in New Delhi April 8.
Omar added: 'Cross-LoC trade has not flourished because of non-application of normal trading practices and restricting the trade to barter only. Unless telephones, banking, and other normal trade-related facilities are not created for traders of the two sides, cross-LoC trade would not accrue the benefits.'
Omar Abdullah said that his government had brought the point home at the union government level earlier and he would like the House to support him in requesting the Prime Minister of India to discuss this important CBM with the President of Pakistan in the proposed meeting between the two leaders.
The House unanimously supported the chief minister's point of view when the Speaker asked the members about the same.
The cross-LoC trade was started in 2008, while cross LoC-travel started in 2005. The trade is being conducted on the Uri-Muzaffarabad route in the Kashmir Valley and from Chakan Da Bagh in Pooonch district of the Jammu region.
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