Indo-Pak trade picks up at Wagah border

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Wagah, Oct 3 (UNI) Trade with Pakistan through this road checkpost today got a boost with three trucks loaded with dry fruits and 'Sarda' (exotic variety of melon) crossed the Radcliffe Line to off load the goods at the Indian Customs Terminal at the checkpost.

This was the first import consignment to arrive from across the border after the start of cross border trade through trucks at the checkpost on October one. The trucks--two of dry fruits and one 'Sarda', a variety of melon from Afghanistan, after offloading the items returned to Pakistan.

India has so far sent 36 trucks, containing tomatoes and meat to Pakistan across the Radcliffe Line. Thirty-two trucks-loads of tomatoes and four of meat were exported to Pakistan during the last three days.

According to Customs officials, 14 trucks containing tomatoes were sent across the border today. On the first day four trucks and yesterday 18 trucks of the two commodities were offloaded by Indian trucks across the border.

The Customs officials are positive that in the coming days more trucks from Pakistan would cross the border. The trucks of both the sides are issued customs permits for cross-border trade.

The export of tomatoes to Pakistan has led to sudden rise in the prices of the commodity in the Amritsar markets. The price which was Rs 15 per kg has shot up to Rs 25 per kg in the last three days.

The demand for tomatoes across the border prompted exporters to buy huge quantaties from markets in Punjab. Tomatoes were also purchased by the exporters from Nashik and other towns of Maharashtra.

The trade through the road checkpost had been a long-standing demand of the exporters of Amritsar. In their numerious representations to the centre and state governments they had pointed out that there was a huge demand for fresh vegetables and fruits across the border and these could not be sent through the Attari-Lahore rail route.

A disadvantage of the rail route is that the exporters or importers have to wait for days for the avaliability of wagons. The exporters in their representations had contended that the road route was the most suitable for perishable items.

In the past, the exporters had sent vegetables and even meat through the road route whenever a demand was made by Pakistan. These commodities used to be offloaded at the zero line.


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