Trade on both sides of Kashmir resumes after four months

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Dawn/ANN) - Last time, travel and trade from the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point had taken place on July 4 and July 7, respectively.

Though the number was minimal, traders on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) were in a buoyant mood on Tuesday as three trucks ferried mercantile goods across the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point after a gap of four months. 

An exchange of goods took place through the otherwise restive dividing line in Poonch division a day after 20 fresh travellers — 13 men and 7 women — from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) went on a trip to India-held side from there. 

Last time, travel and trade from the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point had taken place on July 4 and July 7, respectively. Both activities were, however, suspended due to heavy cross-LoC shelling in the area, though to great inconvenience  of the divided families living in Jammu region of India-held territory and AJK’s southern districts. 

On Tuesday, two trucks from AJK carried herbs and medicinal plants to the IHK while one truck from IHK brought herbs and cumin seeds to AJK from Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh point. 

“Since it is the first day after four months, the number of trucks is small. But I can tell you that the trade from this point will pick up in the coming days and weeks,” said Sardar Kazeem, president of the local intra-Kashmir traders union. 

Last Friday, authorities from both sides had agreed at a joint meeting on the AJK side of the crossing point to resume travel and trade from Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh from Monday, even though it was a closed holiday in AJK. 

Both sides had also decided that 60 trucks — 30 from each side — would ferry goods across the LoC daily during the days reserved for trade activities. 

Mr Kazeem expressed his gratitude to the authorities concerned on both sides for the resumption of travel and trade and expressed the hope that the process would be further simplified for the benefit of the Kashmiri people. 

“More than two billion rupees of traders’ goods on both sides had got stuck due to the suspension of trade from this point and their excitement at its resumption is quite natural,” he said. 

While only three trucks carried goods to the opposite sides from Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh, brisk trade activity was witnessed at Chakothi-Uri where 50 trucks — 15 from AJK and 35 from IHK — transported different tradable items to the opposite sides on Tuesday, officials said.

It may be recalled that travel across the LoC takes place on Monday, while the trade is held from Tuesday to Friday, every week.

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