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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Year on, ICP still without scanners

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, March 11, 2013
First Published: 19:02 IST(11/3/2013) | Last Updated: 19:04 IST(11/3/2013)

Even after assurances from two union home ministers, full-body truck scanners have not been installed at the integrated check post (ICP) on the Attari-Wagah border.

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The modern ICP was built with state-of-the-art infrastructure to facilitate trade between India and Pakistan. The ICP, spread over 121 acres, has all modern facilities, but it is still without full-body truck scanners, which can go a long way in checking smuggling of narcotics and arms from across the border.

In the absence of scanners, the authorities have no option but to manually check the goods being imported from Pakistan. Notably, Pakistan has already installed scanners at its ICP.

After inaugurating the ICP in April last year, former union home minister P Chidambaram had announced that full-body truck scanners would soon be installed at the ICP. Sushilkumar Shinde held out the same promise when he visited the ICP after taking over the charge of the ministry from Chidambaram.

RTI activist PC Sharma, who has been repeatedly taking up the issue with the customs authorities, said, "The ICPs on either side of the border have given a push to Indo-Pak trade, and we welcome it, but we must not compromise with national security. It has been almost a year since Chidambaram announced that the ICP would soon have scanners, but the customs authorities have to still make do with manual checking of trucks. The Centre should take up the matter on priority and ensure that the scanners are soon put in place."

An official at the ICP agreed. "We cannot do without them. Recently, a team from the Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) had come here and finalised the location for the scanners. We expect that the equipment will be installed shortly," he said.

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