After a variety of Indian vegetables, one can now relish bananas imported from India in Pakistani cities and towns. The first consignment of about 15 tonnes of bananas from India -- Maharashtra to be precise -- was exported to Pakistan through the rail route on Monday. And after about 30 years!
Till now, India has been exporting vegetables like onions, tomatoes, ginger, green chillies etc to Pakistan. Recently, a consignment of Indian newsprint was also sent to Pakistan.
There were a couple of more trucks carrying the fruit waiting to unload, it was learnt.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Vijay Bahadur, Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the rail cargo, said, "Today, the first consignment of bananas has been sent and we hope that it will further boost bilateral trade. About 15 tonnes have been exported and more is expected."
Earlier, the trade was restricted to a few items, but in the past few years, the number of items exchanged between India and Pakistan has constantly increased.
The border now sees Indian vegetables go to Pakistan whereas Pakistan sends in gypsum, coal, chemical, dry fruits and other products.
"It is for the first time that fruit is being sent to Pakistan. Bananas were sent to Pakistan about 30 years ago and that too with special permission. After that, the fruit was not send. It is good now that it has started again," a leading exporter Om Parkash said.
"We want that fruits, especially bananas, be sent to Pakistan through the Integrated Check Post at Attari border. In train, there is always the threat of fruit damage," he added.