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Efforts on to persuade Pak to release onion via land route: Krishna

PTI  New Delhi, January 07, 2011
First Published: 14:06 IST(7/1/2011) | Last Updated: 15:39 IST(7/1/2011)

India has initiated talks with Pakistan seeking resumption of onion exports from that country through the land route of Wagah border.

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"We have initiated talks and before not too long we are hopeful that we will find solution to this...," External
Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.

The ministry has also requested Pakistan government to allow export of onions in bulk through rail and ship routes,
sources said.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar had yesterday said that a contract has been entered into for Pakistani onion supply at
Mundra port at Gujarat.

However, if the supplies have to be diverted from Wagah border for arrival through ship routes, it would take at least
few more days to reach India.

Pakistan imposed a ban on export of onions through the land route yesterday after 300 India-bound trucks loaded with
about 3,000 tonnes of the commodity had reached the Wagah border near Amritsar.

An official spokesperson said here that the government is trying to resolve the issue with Pakistan. "Government is
working on it," she said.

Prices of this vegetable have shot up by Rs. 5-10 per kg since yesterday after Pakistan put a curb on onion movement
through land route.

Meanwhile, a report from Lahore said that Pakistani traders have expressed disappointment over the decision of
their government to put these restrictions.

"Such decisions hamper trade between the two countries and cause wastage of perishable goods. This is in the interest
of neither the government nor traders and consumers," said Iftikhar Ali Malik, vice-president of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The traders demanded that the customs authorities at the Wagah land border clear contracted consignments of 300 trucks. Before the federal Pakistani government imposed the ban, several traders had bagged major orders from India.


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