Border trade through rail goes off track | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Border trade through rail goes off track

punjab Updated: Jun 06, 2013 23:26 IST

The import-export business through the Attari railway station has remained stuck for the past around a week, causing anxiety to businessmen at least on this side of the international border.

As many as 72 wagons loaded with imports from Pakistan continue to await unloading at the Attari railway station ever since these arrived on this side of the border six days ago, agonising traders waiting for their goods in Amritsar. Similarly, about 100 trucks carrying items meant to be exported to Pakistan on the same wagons have remained parked at the Amritsar railway station.

Sources claimed that more than 150 wagons were stuck at Wagah and Lahore on the other side of the international border.

A railway official said, "No interchange has taken place since June 2. Wagons are stuck at Attari due to non-availability of power locomotive. There is technical fault in overhead powerlines and is under repair."

While the Indo-Pak trade through rail route remains stuck, traders have been left to count their losses whereas truckers have no option but to play the waiting game for days in the scorching heat of Amritsar.

Traders claimed that they have repeatedly taken up the matter with authorities but to no avail. Leading Indian exporter Rajesh Setia said, "The cross border trade through the rail route has gone into disarray. On June 1, 72 wagons loaded with imports, mostly cement, reached the Attari railway station. But it has been six days and things haven't moved a bit."

Exports worth more than Rs 100 crore remain stuck at the Amritsar railway station and could move onwards only if these 72 wagons first arrived in Amritsar and were unloaded, he pointed out.

Few goods could even get damaged due to intense heat wave, which has agonised truck drivers and their helpers, said Setia.

"We took up the matter with railway officials but we were told that the wagons were stuck at Attari due to non-availability of engine to haul it to Amritsar," he said.

Another trader Varun Arora blamed the "gross negligence" on part of railways for the situation. Exports were already stuck for the last 10 days and they did not know how long it would take to smoothen out things, he added.