On one hand the newly-opened Integrated Check Post (ICP) got a boost as import of Pakistani cement started from the road route, the traders on the other hand continue to be unhappy over the high handling charges at the ICP.
Earlier, India was importing cement through the rail route and shifting to road route is being seen a boost for the trade. For the past couple of days, the Pakistani cement, which in great demand, is being transported through the new ICP. On Friday, four trucks of cement were imported by India through the road route.
Unhappy with the high handling charges at the ICP, the exporters and importers held a meeting with the officials on Friday, but it remained inconclusive.
The traders claimed that charges are being increased ever since the ICP started handling. There is still dearth of infrastructure as far as gypsum import is concerned, but traders are being asked to pay high storage charges.
The importers and exporters held a meeting with Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) member Mohinder Ranga and officials of Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) but no consensus could be reached on Friday.
The importers said that if the government didn't cut down the charges, they would be forced to stop import of gypsum.
Talking to HT, importer Iqbal Singh Bedi said, "There is no infrastructure as far as handling the gypsum is concerned. Gypsum imported by us is being kept in the open and for that the authorities manning the ICP are asking high handling charges."
"Money is being asked for every truck going in and coming out. There are other various charges that are bothering us. We will stop the import, if government will not cooperate with us," he added.
Another importer, Rajdeep Uppal, said, "We were told earlier that apart from labour charges, we will have to pay 25-30% extra as handling charges. But now, high storage charges are being put on gypsum, which we are not happy with.""We are discussing the issue with all our importers and will reach a decision soon," he added.
He said that they held a meeting on Friday with the officials, who said that they would review rates being charged. "But no decision has been taken," he added. On cement trade starting through road, Uppal said, "it is a good development, but things will only be beneficial if we are not overcharged."
Issue taken up with CWC MD
The importers and exporters have written to managing director, Central Warehousing Corporation, BB Patnaik, apprising him of the situation and seeking his intervention.