Trade with China hit amid pandemic, traders want improved facilities

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 3

With Covid having hit the trade with China across the Shipki La adversely for two years, the traders in Kinnaur are anxious to ensure that the state government chips in to ensure that the barter trade picks up next year to cover up the losses.

Though there is no restriction on trade between India and China across Shipki La with the condition of 14-day quarantine on return, the traders, living close to the border with Tibet, are reluctant to travel. "On the request of Deputy Commissioner (Kinnaur), who is also the Trade Commissioner, we have given in writing that none of the traders is keen to cross across to Tibet for the trade," revealed Hishey Negi, president, Kinnaur Indo-China Trade Association via Shipkila.

This is the second consecutive year when trade, which was resumed in 1992, will not take place due to Covid pandemic. "Though the families of traders, primarily from the villages of Chango, Nako, Kanam, Shalkar and Pooh are not totally dependent on the income from trade with China, special efforts will have to be made to ensure that the trade not just resumes but picks up," said Negi. He said unless and until facilities are improved, the volume of trade is unlikely to pick up.

The trade which had touched almost Rs 10 crore in 2015 has been on the decline as in 2019 the total volume of trade was Rs 3.05 crore. "The failure of the government to create facilities like a jeepable road right up to Tibet border, a trade centre at Chuppan, allowing livestock trade, water facility at Shipki and addition of new items to the trade list are some of the major deterrents for the growth of trade," point out traders.

They rue that the disinterest of the state government in promoting cross border trade is so evident from the fact that despite Rs 70 lacs having being sanctioned for the trade centre at Chuppan, work has not even been allotted.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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