Government sets up Integrated Check Posts at Wagah border to improve trade

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Wagah Border (Punjab), Apr 30 (ANI): Integrated Check Posts (ICP) are being set up at Wagah border in Punjab to facilitate trade between India and Pakistan.

Though trade across the border has witnessed a 100 percent growth in the last three years alone, the setting up of Integrated Check Posts would improve trade further.

Syed Mahmood Akhter, Additional Commissioner of Customs at Wagah, said that the Indian exports have doubled from Rs four billion in the previous year to Rs eight billion this year.

"We have already accorded MFNS - Most Favoured Nation Status - to Pakistan. We have also asked from Pakistan for the same but it has not yet given it for whatever reasons...political reasons, but even then they are getting all the convenience from our side and we have not barred the trade by any means," said Akhter.

Akhter claimed that though trade has grown, there is no compromise at the security levels, which remain high.

Currently, trade is not getting sufficient growth due to lack of infrastructure at the International Border, which the ICPs are meant to check.

"Even today, the trade is being hampered, not by lack of willingness than anything else but the lack of infrastructure and facilities which are required and the ICP would definitely a step forward," said Gunbir Singh, Head of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) for Punjab state.

He added that India and Pakistan depend on each other due to their proximity and make mutual profits, as the Wagah-Attari land route is a direct route to Lahore.

About Rs 1.5 billion are being spent to set up the ICP across 130 acres of land by the Indian government. The check post is likely to become operational in 2011.

The ICP would include immigration and customs facilities as well as restaurants for travelers, all under one roof. (ANI)

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