Less than 48 hours before the inauguration of the Integrated Check Post (ICP), Indian porters on Wednesday blocked the movement of trucks to Pakistan over 'inadequate' labour rates, even as exporters cried foul over 'stiff' handling charges. No truck was allowed to go to Pakistan during the day.
A joint meeting of exporters, representatives of porters and officials of the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) was held in the morning.
The porters, who were initially demanding the old rates (when trade was through the old check post), also sought Rs 500 per truck as 'dalla' (additional token money) for unloading.
Later, traders fixed a new rate list in consultation with the labour union, and some additional token money per truck was offered to porters. Exports are expected to normalise on Thursday.
Meanwhile, exporters were upset at the hike in handling charges imposed by the CWC and the LPAI at the ICP.
Throughout the day, LPAI member Mohinder Ranga and CWC representative RN Meena held a meeting with exporters and importers.
Exporters claimed that they had been told by the authorities to adopt an ad hoc arrangement wherein they would pay 25-30% over and above the labour rate for a few days, following which the situation would be reviewed.
Talking to HT, Rajdeep Singh Uppal, vice-president, Amritsar Exporters Chambers of Commerce, said, " At the ICP, we are being told to pay handling charges of Rs 2,600 per truck (up from Rs 1,200). It is unfair and the traders cannot bear the burden."