Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday urged the Centre to consider greater and hassle-free movements for cultural troupes, students, pilgrims and tourists across the Line of Control (LoC).
“The people-to-people contacts need to go beyond divided families. The Centre need to consider greater and hassle-free to-and-fro movement of cultural troupes, students, pilgrims and tourists across the LoC,” Sayeed said during a visit to the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) at Salamabad in Uri sector.
The Chief Minister also visited Kaman Post in sector-10 where cross-LoC travel began in 2005.
He is also scheduled to visit Chakan da Bagh in Poonch district tomorrow to take similar review of the cross-LoC trade and travel.
The CM is accompanied by Industries and Commerce minister Chander Parkash, GoC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha and senior civil and police officers.
Sayeed addressed a high level meeting at Salamabad to strengthen cross-LoC trade and travel.
Financial Commissioner, Industries and Commerce, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, Joint Secretary (K), MHA, Rajit Punhani, Joint Secretary, MEA, Rudrendra Tandon, Director General of state Police, K Rajendra, Principal Secretary, Home, R K Goyal, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon and Deputy Commissioner Baramulla attended the meeting, an official spokesman said.
The Chief Minister directed the Principal Secretary, Home, to coordinate with Union Home Ministry and expedite the clearance of proposed visit of trade delegation to the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, for trade- related discussions.
It was informed in the meeting that two trade delegations from across have already visited the state but no delegation from this side has paid a reciprocal visit, the spokesman said.
The Joint Secretary, MEA, stated that the matter would be taken up in the next meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) between India and Pakistan.
On the issue of multiple-entry permit for cross-LoC travellers, the Chief Minister issued directions to Home Department to examine the issue in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs.
“Telecom and banking facilities are vital to conduct of cross-LoC trade,” Sayeed said.
He requested the Centre to take up the issues related to banking facilities in the next meeting of Joint Working Group between India and Pakistan, the spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister also desired that the modalities between MHA and BSNL should be finalised soon to provide ISD facility to traders on both sides of the LoC.
Sayeed said the demands of the traders for including additional items in the tradable list should be finalised in the meeting of the Joint Working Group at an earliest so that the scope of cross-LoC trade is further broadened.
The Chief Minister also directed that a Single Window Clearance Mechanism should be immediately put in place to ensure hassle-free movement of passengers and trucks.
For this purpose, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Uri was tasked to perform additional duties as Nodal Officer, till such time regular arrangement is made, the spokesman said.
Placing high priority on development of infrastructure facilities for all stakeholders, the Chief Minister asked J&K tourism Development Corporation to work out the modalities for transfer of land for setting up of residential accommodation for officers of civil and police administration, which are essentially required to be stationed at Salamabad.
Sayeed also assigned the police to take the responsibility of providing fool-proof security clearance to trucks at Salamabad, as per the SoP.
He also directed JKTDC to make the cafeteria within the TFC premises functional immediately, the spokesman said.
The Chief Minister directed the authorities to make suitable arrangements for parking of vehicles at TFC Salamabad and creation of additional Hall.
He urged upon the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs to sanction detailed project for infrastructure up-gradation, in particular, procurement of full body scanners to make movement of people and goods across the LoC smooth.
The spokesman said the Ministry of External Affairs would take up in the next Joint Working Group meeting, the issue of proper sealing and dispatch of trucks to eliminate chances of loading of contrabands that hinder cross-LoC trade.
During his visit to Kaman Post, Mufti Sayeed issued directions for upgrading facilities for travellers to expedite immigration clearance and canteen facilities, the spokesman said.