Cross-LoC trade to resume after plugging of loopholes: MHA

The cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, which was suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) because of its misuse for terror funneling purposes, will resume soon after the mechanisms to check the loopholes are put in place.

Sources said the work had started on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres — Salamabad in the Kashmir valley and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu — to enable the customs department and other agencies to see what is being imported from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

A senior officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We are working out the mechanism to plug the loopholes and block the entry of contraband, explosives and fake currency. For this, we have begun the process to install full-body truck scanners.”

The official said the scanners were being installed by a reputed company, Punj Lloyd.

The two cross-LoC trade centres will be the first to get such facility, which is not even available at the Wagah-Attari border in Punjab.

“There were complaints of the misuse of trade for long, but the political governments in the state stood in the way of taking corrective measures,” another senior officer said.

The trade was started in October 2008 as a part of the confidence-building measures between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir divided by the Line of Control. The steps were mooted in 2004, but these finally came through in 2008 when the UPA government was in power at the Centre.

Traders in Srinagar on Monday protested against the Centre’s suspension of cross-Line of Control trade

Dozens of traders assembled at Pratap Park here and sought relaxation of the ban for two weeks until the last consignments of goods bought by traders from various parts of the country and outside are sold to traders in PoK