JK’s tardy travel norms hurting traders - ECAS Punjab

JK’s tardy travel norms hurting traders

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Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 2

The Jamp;K Government has put in place a set of cumbersome standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the Lakhanpur inter-state barrier causing inconvenience to people travelling to the Union Territory. At the same time, the government is allowing free movement to Jamp;K residents travelling to Punjab or other states.

The barrier is barely 500 yards from the statue of BJP founder Syama Prasad Mukherjee, who had coined the slogan: "There cannot be two constitutions for one nation". The Jamp;K Government, however, is clearly following two sets of rules.

Businessmen say the Ministry of Home Affairs' guidelines to allow free movement of goods and individuals are being violated with impunity.

This has prompted Member of Parliament Sunny Deol to write to Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu seeking his personal intervention.

Livelihoods of thousands of Punjab businessmen, lawyers, chartered accountants, doctors, hawkers, auto-rickshaw drivers, employees of private companies and taxi drivers who have business interests in Jamp;K hang in the balance.

Pathankot-based IT advocate Sanjay Aggarwal, who used to travel everyday to Kathua before the lockdown, says: "Travel passes are issued by the Jamp;K Industries Department and have to be countersigned by another set of officials, making the process tedious.

"To complicate matters, we are allowed entry only twice a week, translating to eight days a month. This leaves us with just six working days as two days are taken up in testing at the Kathua Civil Hospital. Getting tested twice is mandatory. One test costs Rs 2,700, which means we have to pay Rs 5,400," he adds.

He has lost a majority of his 700-strong clients due to his absence, claims Aggarwal.

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