Suspension of LoC trade has cost Rs 500 Cr loss to traders: SCUT

Srinagar: The Salamabad Cross Union Trade Association Wednesday said that people involved in cross LoC trade are on verge of collapse and starvation as around Rs 500 crore have been lost since the trade was suspended last year in April by the Government of India.

Chairman Salamabad cross union trade (SCUT), Hilal Turkei said that an estimated Rs 5780 crore rupees turnover generated since the commence of trade back in 2008 till the suspension in last year April.

Turki told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that the annual loss suffered since the suspension last year in April is around 500 crore rupees with traders and people linked to it are on verge of collapse.

He said the cross border trade between India and Pakistan started on 21 October 2008 and was shut last year on March 7 after some issues but on 18 April a notification was issued by government of India stating that the trade must be shut as new mechanism has to be set-up for the same.

Turki estimated the revenue generated in past 11 years around 5780 crore. He said the traders since suspension have suffered huge losses as number of firms were involved with 1000’s of people earning their livelihood from it including the truckers, labourers, representatives, mandi, house-holds, transport, petroleum and notified committees in towns.

He said 63000 truckers were hired for the process and they have given away at least 1,70, 000 job days at 800 rupees per day to labour class which is a handsome earning.

He said that not only the locals but people from Jammu, Rajouri and other parts of the valley were involved in the trade business as it provided jobs to the people living in off-site areas which have no other source of avenues to earn. “Even the educated un-employed people were involved in this trade to earn their livelihood and they are worst victims of the trade suspension.”

People involved in cross border trade are on the verge of starvation and if the suspension continues all may have to sell-out their assets including the homes to pay the bank instalments and the money borrowed from market, he said.

He said that over the years trade included the export of fresh fruits, species, embroidery items, herbal medicines and in return they imported dry fruits, fruits, matting embroidery and other things including vegetables.

“After the suspension of trade by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), it had assured to come up with new improved mechanism for cross LoC trade in backdrop of people quizzed and investigated about various issues.”

He requested the government of India to come up with full proof mechanism and furnish the guidelines and special operating procedure (SOP) so that the trade commences early without further delay and loss to the people.

Overall avenues are at grinding halt amid this pandemic and it’s high time to commence the trade so that the economy also gets boost at an earliest, he said—(KNO)