Cross-LoC bus service resumes, trade from today

They were suspended earlier this month

Cross-LoC bus service resumes, trade from today

The cross LoC bus service in Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir resumed on Monday, with at least 138 passengers from India and Pakistan availing the services.

The bus service and cross-border trade with Pakistan was suspended earlier in the month after ties between the neighbouring countries hit rock bottom in the wake of Pakistani troops allegedly killing two Indian soldiers along the LoC on January 8.

Officials said 79 people from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), who had travelled to India to meet relatives in Poonch, took the bus from Poonch to Rawalkote via the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point. Fifteen people from PoK and 44 Indians took the bus to Jammu and Kashmir, they said, adding that cross LoC trade will resume on Tuesday.

Goodwill gesture

Sources said the developments came after the Indian and Pakistani armies exchanged sweets along the LoC on Saturday as a goodwill gesture on the occasion of India’s 64th Republic Day.

Goods worth Rs 2 crore are traded every day, with about 25 trucks crossing over. The trade came to a standstill on January 10 when Indian officials said Pakistan did not open its gates for the trucks at the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing.

Pakistan and India had agreed in 2005 to facilitate cross-border travel by providing entry permits to divided Kashmiri families to travel across the LOC. Thousands of such families have been living on either side of the LOC since 1948.

Both countries started cross-border bus services on April 7, 2005 and truck services for trade in October 2008.

Services

The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus runs a distance of 170 km. To avail the services, people have to apply at the Regional Passport Office in Srinagar, which is the designated authority to evaluate applications, verify identities and issue entry permits.
The Poonch-Rawalakot bus service, which was suspended on January 11, was launched on June 20, 2006.

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