The India-Pakistan trade operating through the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the Attari border came to a standstill on Monday as the truck union along with the traders went on an indefinite strike against the poor infrastructure at the ICP.
The traders and truck union members, who decided not to send any truck inside the ICP, started the day with a protest outside the main gate. They raised slogans against the Central Warehousing Corporation. Only three trucks carrying tomatoes, a perishable commodity, were allowed inside.
The traders accused the government of not providing proper infrastructure inside the ICP and also not resolving their pending issues despite repeated reminders.
Claiming that the “poor infrastructure” was the major reason for the strike, trader Rajdeep Uppal said, “Since the ICP has come up, we are struggling to get better infrastructure. During rains, areas inside the ICP get waterlogged; the yards are in a pathetic shape; and the ICP also does not have truck scanners. Moreover, there are no lights in the cargo yard and there is no concrete platform.”
The traders claimed that in the past two years, various reminders had been sent but nothing much had changed. During rains, waterlogging in the unloading area resulted in huge losses for the importers, they added.
“We want a detailed meeting with a top official of the Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) and urgent steps must be taken to improve the infrastructure. Till then, we will not resume work,” they said.
Parminder Singh, president of the Attari Truck Union, said, “We had no other choice as we have made a lot of efforts to persuade the authorities, but nothing has worked. Only the driver is allowed with the truck going inside the ICP. In case of emergency, a helper is required, but it is not allowed.”
He said, “We require an office inside the ICP so that the issues pertaining to truckers can be resolved immediately. These issues are not new but have been pending for long. But nothing has happened. We will not resume work till our problems are addressed.”
Due to the strike, many trucks were lined up outside the ICP and drivers were seen waiting for the deadlock to end.
The ICP came up a couple of years ago without infrastructure; there is waterlogging in the area where gypsum is unloaded.
The ICP built on 121 acres to facilitate the India-Pakistan trade witnesses cross-border movement of about 200 trucks every day.