Pak border squeeze chokes Indian traders

Written by Divya A | New Delhi | Published: September 29, 2017 5:18 am

Vegetables, perishable goods rot in quarantine, say traders.

The export of vegetables and other perishable items to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah checkpost is facing an unexpected hurdle — quarantine. According to official estimates, as many as 200-250 trucks laden with vegetables and soyabean would take this land route daily. But for the past few months, officials and traders say, that number has come down to less than 100.

“All clearances and formalities are carried out at Attari on the Indian side according to procedure, but once the perishable goods cross over to Pakistan, they are being held up at the quarantine department and not allowed to go further into the market,” a senior Customs official posted at Attari told The Indian Express.

Officials at Attari say that for some months now, the export of tomatoes, poultry and vegetables has declined drastically, while cotton is let through.

Quarantine inspection is part of the standard operating procedure in the export of perishable goods, such as vegetables. Officials say this is to ensure that the goods are not carrying any infection that may harm the receiving country’s ecosystem.

Rajdeep Uppal, president, Confederation of International Chamber of Commerce, Amritsar, says, “We are following the same set of international rules and specifications since the last 15 years but our goods are being rejected. This has been happening for some months now, and is a huge setback to the entire trading community of the region. Initially, some trucks would fail to get clearance, but now, almost all goods are rejected.”

Uppal says there has been no official word from Pakistan’s Agriculture Ministry, under whose purview the quarantine inspection falls, on why the goods are stopped even though…

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