New gates thrown open for trade, deadlock remains on passengers
India and Pakistan scripted a new chapter at the Attari border as both the nations threw open the new gates of the Integrated Check Posts (ICP) for the cross border truck movement on Monday.punjab Updated: Apr 09, 2012 19:18 IST
India and Pakistan scripted a new chapter at the Attari border as both the nations threw open the new gates of the Integrated Check Posts (ICP) for the cross border truck movement on Monday.
However, as far as passenger movement was concerned, the deadlock continued on the second day as well, as Pakistan did not agree on sending passengers through new gates.
The passengers on Monday were also moved through the old existing gate but their immigration and customs was done in the new ICP. The ICP is to be formally inaugurated on April 13 by Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Till now the trucks carrying goods were commuted through the old gate but since the ICP is all set to be formally inaugurated in few days time, both the nations on Monday started the truck movement through new gates.
After a religious ceremony on Indian side, the gates were opened at around 8:00 AM. Till 3:00 PM about 48 Pakistani trucks carrying dry fruits, dry dates, and gypsum had reached India through the new gates.
However the export was slow and till afternoon no Indian truck had crossed over to Pakistan. It was learnt that since the system and route was new the documentation was taking time.
The cross border truck movement earlier took place for about five hours a day since the road had to be cleared for retreat ceremony in the evening.
But now with trade shifting to new ICP and done through new gates, the trade will start at 7:00 every morning and continue for 12 hours.
Both the countries had done a trial run for passengers on Sunday through new ICP but differences had emerged when Pakistan refused to send or receive passengers through new gates.
Pakistan had been adamant saying that since it has recently constructed the immigration and customs facilities at old gates, it is not viable for it to shift passenger movement to new gate.
The deadlock did not end on Monday as well and passengers operation continued through old gates. Talking to HT, Deputy Commissioner Customs at the Attari Border, RK Duggal said, "The new gates have been opened for trade but passengers are still using the old gates. Pakistan till now has not agreed on new gate for passengers. Talks are on at highest level and we hope that soon it will be resolved."
"We are ready to receive and send passengers through new gates. It is up to Pakistan now. However for the convenience of passengers we have arranged three buses to ferry the passengers," he added.
As the ICP is all set to be formally inaugurated by Home Minister P. Chidambaram on April 13, the preparations for the inauguration function are in full swing.
The workers were on job to set up the stage whereas the officials posted at border were holding various rounds of meetings to ensure that all goes well.
Apart from the home minister, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is also expected to attend the function. From Pakistan side their commerce minister Makdoon Fahim will be reaching India.
First Published: Apr 09, 2012 19:14 IST