PM Modi shifts focus to JK

On PMO directions, Home Ministry clears cross-LOC trade proposals on priority

Ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to J&K on July 4, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has cleared the proposal for installation of full body truck scanners at Salamabad in north Kashmir to facilitate the Cross-LoC trade between the divided parts of Kashmir.
According to highly placed sources, the MHA cleared the proposal that was otherwise pending for years together to “indicate the new dispensation’s focus on Jammu and Kashmir.” On directions of the PMO, the sources said, the MHA is also pushing for spot-visa for children up to five years to cross the LOC.
The MHA, according to sources, has also cleared the International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) facility for the cross-LOC trade—the demand that the UPA had kept on the backburner.
“The ISD facility proposal has been on the table and the decision to clear it was made after Modi directed a team of senior Home Ministry officials led by its joint secretary (Kashmir Affairs), R K Srivastava, to finalize the matter as soon as possible,” the sources added. Pertinently Srivastava was in Kashmir last week to review the Cross-LOC trade and travel. The ISD facility would be set-up at the Trade Facilitation Center at Salamabad in Uri and Chakanda Bagh in Poonch, and also at one or two designated locations in Baramulla and Srinagar. “The State’s Industries and Commerce department has been directed to move a proposal to BSNL so that the facility could be set up quickly,” the sources added.
Sources said the process to install full-body truck scanners at Salamabad and Chakan da Bagh has also been initiated. “The machines required have been purchased by the Centre and are on way to JK. They would be installed shortly,” said an official, privy to the development.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Sheikh Ashiq said: “Since the formation of new government at Centre there is a positive approach from the authorities and things seem to be moving in a positive direction.”
He said installation of truck scanners would help facilitate the cross-LOC trade as many genuine businessmen were afraid to book their consignments.