The Bold Voice of J&K

Notorious trade

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Cross LoC trade has been in news for good or bad reasons in Jammu and Kashmir as the recent seizure of weapons from a truck intercepted at the entry point in Uri proves. This is nothing new, arms running by the cross-border truckers must be a common thing otherwise why should recently National Investigation Agency (NIA) take load full of files and computers under custody to New Delhi. The agency suspects the route is being used for running Hawala racket to fund terrorism in Kashmir Valley. On the other hand  notwithstanding the bitterness between India and Pakistan, cement from the neighbouring country is increasingly strengthening Indian infrastructure, especially in Punjab and neighbouring states. The product has made its place in construction and infrastructure industry in Punjab because of the cost effectiveness and quality.  Value-added trade has been the plus point on the Punjab frontier compared to notoriety gained in the two facilitation centres in Jammu and Kashmir.The one trade point in Jammu Chakan-Da Bagh in Poonch was in news when a truck loaded with more than Rs 100 Cr worth of narcotics was seized few years back. The seizure resulted in stopping of the trade between India and Pakistan  and to some extent it became a political issue with Pakistan making the release of the truck as a precondition to resume the trade further. The export of cement from Pakistan to India grew from 4.19 lakh Metric Tonnes (MT) between July 2015 and January 2016 to 7.52 lakh MT in the July 2016-January 2017 period – a growth of nearly 79 per cent.  The popularity of Pakistani cement has been increasing; it is being used in all sorts of projects including residential, commercial, and even public infrastructure projects. Such value added trade is invisible on the two transit points in Jammu and Kashmir as compared to Punjab but smuggling and transportation of narcotics cannot be ruled out anywhere.  Began as one of the factors to normalise the relations between the two countries today the trade points have become a point of notoriety to fuel terrorism through weapon smuggling, narcotics and Hawala money in Kashmir Valley.

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