The cash crunch caused by demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has brought the India-Pakistan trade through the Attari border here to a standstill.
As the contractor has no cash for wages of over 1,000 porters who usually load and unload trucks at the integrated check post (ICP), the bilateral trade has come to a halt.
In view of the prevailing situation, even the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) has also instructed the customs department to put the trade through the border on a hold.
Though usually over 100 Pakistani trucks, carrying items such as cement, gypsum and dried fruits, enter India, not even a single truck came from across the border on Thursday.
Confirming this, a senior customs official said several trucks are lined up on the Pakistani side, but they are not entering India as the customs have been told to halt the trade.
“There are around 1,400 labourers who work under a contractor. Due to cash crunch, the contractor is not able to pay them daily. Things were fine till the old notes were exchanged by banks, but now the labour is hardly getting any wages.”
Another official said there is no point in letting Pakistani trucks in India. “If goods come from Pakistan, there is no labour to unload the trucks,” he added.
Rajdeep Uppal, president, Confederation of International Chamber of Commerce, said most of the labourers do not have bank accounts and they demand cash. “Even those who have accounts don’t accept cheques as it’s not easy to withdraw money from banks these days,” he said.
Uppal added that the cash crunch has not only affected the labour but also traders. “The orders placed by us are still stuck across the border and we are just waiting for the situation to ease.”
Also, the export from India through the border has also virtually come to a standstill as trucks carrying tomatoes are not getting quarantine import permits from Pakistani authorities due to unknown reasons, traders claimed.
Talking to HT, a customs official said, “While the import has totally stopped due to cash crunch, only a few trucks carrying cotton are going to Pakistan these days.”