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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, November 06, 2012
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal accepted Pakistan Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif's proposal for constituting a joint business committee of India and Pakistan.
Sukhbir announced that the first meeting of the committee constituting politicians, industrialists, traders and progressive farmers would be held in Amritsar in the first week of December. Sharif has consented to be the chief guest at the meeting; he would also be the chief guest during the finals of the third edition of the World Kabaddi Cup.

Citing the example of western Europe and the unification of the two Germanys, Sukhbir said the time had come for the two Punjabs to join hands to enhance commerce and trade.

Sukhbir said Punjab, with just 1.5% geographical area of India, had been contributing 50 to 60% to the national foodgrain pool. "Joining hands with Pakistan our industry would be benefited," Sukhbir said.

Describing the opening up of Wagah as a 'turning point' in the history of both countries, Sukhbir said the two nations were hopeful that by December 31, negative list would be eliminated or reduced, opening new vistas of trade and commerce between both countries. "We have to prepare ourselves for quantum leap in the trade by strengthening infrastructure and logistics at the check posts on both sides so that there was no delay or bottlenecks in import and export of goods," he adds advocating to adopt scientific logistic system for speedy movement of goods and sought the cooperation of chambers in streamlining the goods clearance procedure. Seeking the opening of Hussaniwala and Fazilka Border, deputy CM of eastern Punjab, said that more borders should be opened for equitable business opportunities in all regions of Punjab.

Stressing the need for Visa clearance centers at Amritsar and Lahore, he said that both state governments should emphasise their federal governments to take positive steps in this direction.

Emphasising the need for strengthening dairy industry, he said that we should also request federal governments to allow import of Neeli Ravi breed of buffalos to Punjab as it could help in growth of dairy industry. He also stressed the need for strengthening sports and cultural ties between both countries.

Sharing the sentiments of Punjab Deputy CM, Chief Minister of Eastern Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, said that they don't have any time to waste on technicalities. "Let us pursue with our federal government to move at lightning speed so that opportunity that has been offered to us by the history do not slip away," he said.