As India gears up to unveil the much-awaited Integrated Check Post (ICP) in the first week of April, disagreement seems to have cropped up, as Pakistan has not agreed to make passenger movement through the new gates connecting the ICP’s.
However, the Secretary Border Management, Government of India, AE Ahmad, who visited the ICP on Wednesday to make a check on construction stressed that making passenger movement through new gates was more logical and the matter will be discussed with the authorities in the neighbouring nation.
The Attari Border has traditionally seen one gate. And this gate witnesses the passenger movement, trade movement and also the retreat ceremony.
But as the volume of trade went up, both nations decided to construct new Integrated Check posts (ICP’s) with top facilities. It was also deemed that both trade and passengers would move through the new gate connecting these ICP’s.
But now though all is set, there is still an issue, as Pakistan is pressing that passenger movement should continue from the old gate whereas India, who has spent crores and constructed new immigration and customs area, wants the passenger movement to be done through the new gates.
The Secretary Border Management, AE Ahmad who thoroughly looked into the project said, "Certainly it is more logical that passenger movement is made through the new gates. Meetings are continuing with Pakistan and we are working on the issue."
As passengers will have to walk a long way to reach the immigration terminal from the new gates, the border secretary said, "For us, the comfort of passenger is more important than the building. We may initiate shuttle service or some other facility so that there is no hassle to people of both nations."
Hopeful that the ICP will be inaugurated between 4 to 6 weeks, Ahmad said, "I have looked into the entire project and we aim to provide best of facilities and infrastructure."
On being reminded that the ICP is yet to have truck scanners, which are mandatory as far as security is concerned, Ahmad said that the truck scanners were procured and will reach shortly.
Home Minister of Indian, P Chidambaram will inaugurate the project.
Ahmad was also concerned about the trucks waiting on the roads and desired that there must be a holding area where that could park trucks that wait to cross the border.
Additional Director General of the BSF Himmat Singh, IG Aditya Mishra, DIG Sanjeev Bhanot, Deputy Commissioner Customs RK Duggal were also present.