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Trans-LoC commerce : Traders want bank system

In a bid to prevent the nascent initiative snowballing into a political controversy, the traders from across the LoC on Friday decided to use dual currency for trade with dollar as a reference.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 11, 2008, 02.36 AM IST
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SRINAGAR: In a bid to prevent the nascent initiative snowballing into a political controversy, the traders from across the LoC on Friday decided to use dual currency for trade with dollar as a reference.

They would opt for barter economy if the Islamabad and New Delhi do not restore banking relations on either side but will not offer them a chance to kill the path-breaking initiative, the two sides said after deciding to have a joint chamber of commerce.

Business leaders from J&K and PoK said opting for a third stable currency will change the dimension of the intra-Kashmir trade into an international one and offer lot of fodder to the politicians. ���We will go for use of dual currency with US dollar as a reference and if it becomes a problem we will go for barter,��� Mr Mubin Shah who heads Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said. Right now the not-so-stable US dollar fetches Rs 47 in India and Rs 80 in Pakistan.

The two sides will approach the respective governments for starting banking relations. ���We can have a branch of J&K Bank at Chakothi and a Pakistani bank can open a window in Slamabad���s Trade facilitation Centre,��� Mr Zulfikar Abbasi, his counterpart from Muzaffarabad said. After over three years of wait, Abbasi finally crossed over with a 19-member delegation on Thursday.

���I am not satisfied with the items the two sides have approved because it will create no volume but we should stick to the schedule (October 21) and exchange things���, Abbasi said. ���We should not let the opportunity go because good beginning is half done���.

Two sides were enraged over the system of clearance. ���We need to tell the two sides that business is to be done by traders and not by foreign office officials,��� Abbasi said.

They had a consensus over the suggestion that once the governments clear a businessman, he should get a permit that will facilitate his multiple crossover���s in a specified period strictly as per the Saarc Chamber of Commerce where even some members have got life time visa for movement within Saarc.

Abbasi said Kashmir produce will have an instant market within PoK, Pakistan and rest of Europe where a million odd Mirpuris live.
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