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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Veggies for Pak rot as queue of trucks grows longer at Attari

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Attari , October 04, 2012
First Published: 19:18 IST(4/10/2012) | Last Updated: 19:20 IST(4/10/2012)

Government of India spent crores on the much-hyped Integrated Check Post (ICP) to remove infrastructural hazards and make trade operations with Pakistan smoother through the Attari Border, but on the contrary hundreds of trucks lined up to several kilometers narrate a pathetic story.

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Although the authorities in the ICP claim that this queue of trucks running upto kilometers is due to heavy demand of fresh vegetables from Pakistan side but the truckers have something else to say.

As you move towards the Attari border, one can spot a queue of trucks lining upto 2 kilometers. A similar queue is also visible on the road that goes towards the Attari Railway station.

The truck drivers who are waiting to enter the premises of the ICP since past 4-5 days allege that the local trucks are made to break the queue and enter the ICP. They even alleged that the local police at times also some people to break the queue and when some truckers object to this, they are being snubbed.
Most of the trucks that are waiting on the road include trucks carrying tomatoes, which are to be exported to Pakistan. As they are waiting on the road since days, tomatoes are damaged in many trucks and water is leaking.

Narrating his woes, Manjit Singh, a truck driver said, “I reached border 4 days back with a truckload of tomatoes. But till now I am waiting for my turn. Due to pressure of some local union, some trucks are allowed to break the queue and we are kept waiting.”

It is unfortunate that now even have such big ICP but trucks have to wait for days for clearance, he added.

Telling a similar story, Suresh a truck driver who had reached here from Bikaner said, “We cannot understand that why we are being kept waiting on the road for days. Tomatoes have got spoiled. We have no option other than sleeping a cooking on the road. The authorities of the ICP need to react and do something.”
“I am waiting for my turn for the past 5 days. Many trucks are being favoured and when we object, we are being threatened. The police is also not reacting,” said truck driver Balwinder Singh.

When contacted an official at the ICP said, “Theses days there is lot of demand of fresh vegetable such as Tomatoes, onions by Pakistan. We are sending about 200 trucks each day to Pakistan. We know that there is a queue outside but we are accommodating maximum and soon the queue will vanish.”
On allegations that some trucks are being, the ICP said, “we are keeping a close eye on that and never allow anything of such sort happen.”
These days India is sending consignment of Tomatoes, Onions, Soyabean to Pakistan.

Talking to HT, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said, “This is a matter which customs has to look into. If there is any sort of police intervention to promote bias, I will take up the matter with SSP.”


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