Even as the traders from Poonch and Baramula registered their resentment against official apathy from India and Pakistan to the lull in the trade across Line of Control (LoC), the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, invited the traders for a meeting on Wednesday.
The LoC Traders Association, both in Poonch and Baramulla announced its decision not to ply trucks across LoC a few days ago. It staged a demonstration at the Ranger Trade Centre near Chakan Da Bagh crossing point on the LoC and at the Salamabad Trade Centre in Kashmir they held the executive body meeting to chalk out future course of action.
Matloob Khan In-charge Officer from Poonch side confirmed that no truck plied from either side on Tuesday. “It [the trade] has been suspended by the traders and not by the authorities,” he said, adding that the traders have some grievances and that was why they suspended it. The demands were genuine and the government should address them, an official said, pleading anonymity. He said even the Rangad Centre did not have regular power supply.
Though the Rawalakot traders on the PoK side dispatched their trucks, there was nobody to receive them. Facilitation Officer O.P. Mina confirmed that the trucks had come.
“There were some trucks standing across zero line but there was nobody to receive them and I told them [Rawlakot traders] to take the decision on their own,” he said.
In Poonch, the LoC Traders Association’s Sheeraz Khan led a protest demonstration in which over 60 traders took part. “We have demanded that the ban on listed items agreed between the two sides on August 28, 2008 be lifted,” he said.
“The ball is in the court of government of India and if it is interested to continue the trade, it must fulfil our demands before next Tuesday. Otherwise it will have to take a decision to stop the trade forever,” he added.
The cross-LoC trade began on October 21, 2008 and since then trade worth over Rs. 150 crore was done. But it witnessed a slump in the past few weeks following restriction on some items which had benefited the traders at large.