Amritsar: With just three days to go for the inauguration of ‘Integrated Check Post’ (ICP) on the Indo-Pakistan border, controversies have thwarted the cross border trade between the two countries. The check-post situated on the international Attari road is to be inaugurated by Home Minister P Chidambaram on April 13.

First of its kind the ICP that facilitates trade between India-Pakistan was thrown open a few days back for trial purposes. Dealing with loading and unloading of goods the Central Warehouse Corporation (CWC) increased the labour costs which irked the traders of both the sides. Reacting to the wage hike, Indian traders denied sending goods to Pakistan. As a result140 soybean trucks were stranded on the Indian border and could not be sent to Pakistan. However 50 trucks from Pakistan managed to enter India.

This is not the first time when the wages have been hiked without consulting the traders. Earleir the CWC had increased wages succumbing to the strike called by the labourers.  The halt in cross border trade movement can cost crores to the traders.

Amritsar Clearing Agent Association’s Chief Dilip Singh said, “After the wage hike the importers and exporters will have to pay double the wages. Earlier the traders who were paying Rs 2070 per truck as labour charges will now have to pay more than Rs 3600.”

Singh also informed that the Amritsar Chamber of Commerce will hold a meeting on Tuesday in this regard.

Reacting to the situation CII Amritsar’s Chairman Devender Pal Singh said, “There shall be no limits for trade between the two countries via Attari border. Pakistan has given consent for import of only 137 items. The list issued by Pakistan on import items does not include agriculture equipments, hand tools and paper. However, these items are produced at a large scale in Punjab.”

JPN/Bureau