Shujaat Bukhari

Traders want Standing Operation Procedures implemented

SRINAGAR: Traders from Poonch-Rajouri on Monday conveyed to their counterparts in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) that they would not ply their trucks on Tuesday.

They demanded the implementation of the Standing Operation Procedures (SPO) to make trade successful. They also sought the cooperation of traders from across the border in the boycott.

Six members of the Line of Control Traders’ Association, Poonch, accompanied by in-charge officer Matloob Khan met Aslam Kiyani, Deputy Designated Authority (DDA), Rawalkote, at Zero Line, and informed him that traders on this side had decided not to send any trucks on Tuesday.

Trading takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday on the Poonch and Uri sides.

The Trade Facilitation Officer of Rawalkote was also present, but the authorities on that side did not allow the PoK traders to sit in the meeting.

Sheeraz Ahmad Khan, the spokesman of the LoC Traders’ Association, told The Hindu over phone that they had conveyed to the PoK authorities that trade would not continue in these circumstances and “no truck will roll tomorrow in view of the restrictions imposed by both India and Pakistan on real trade.”

“A letter of resentment was handed over to Mr. Kiyani,” Mr. Ahmad Khan said, adding that traders on this side had suffered a loss of Rs.7 crore during past four turns of trade.

Hurdles

On Tuesday, there will be no trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road too. “In case the trucks from PoK come we will not receive them,” Mr. Ahmad Khan said.

He reiterated that both New Delhi and Islamabad were creating hurdles in trade and from the 21 items in which trade was allowed, the list had been reduced to just two items.

He said until trade was not made consumption-based, they would not ply trucks on both these roads.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Matloob Khan, said he only facilitated the meeting between traders and PoK authorities. “Officially, the trade is not suspended,” he said.

But he confirmed that there was serious resentment among traders on banning items such as garlic and ginger from this side and moong dal on that side. “These were the most traded items,” he said.