Chandigarh, Jan 07 (Agencies): In a retaliatory move, Amritsar-based vegetable exporters on Friday refused to send trucks carrying tomatoes and other vegetables to Pakistan via Attari-Wagah land route, perturbed over the ban imposed by the neighbouring country on export of onion through land route.

"On Friday, we will not export vegetables to Pakistan because Pakistan government has put a ban on onion export to us (India)," Amritsar-based vegetable trader Anil Mehra said.

This decision was taken on Friday collectively by about 40 vegetables exporters based at Amritsar.

"We took this decision because when we (India) needed vegetables (onion), Pakistan has simply banned the export of essential item," he said, while adding that the traders were
not bothered about the losses which would they face because of not sending vegetables to neighbouring country.

Almost 70 trucks carrying vegetables including tomatoes, ginger, chilli have been withheld by vegetable exporters and were not sent for customs clearance.

"So far, no truck carrying vegetables including tomatoes has crossed over to Pakistan through land route...though five to six trucks containing soybean (animal feed) have moved to neighbouring country," a senior official of Customs Department at Amritsar said.

India is a major exporter of vegetables to Pakistan as out of total export via land route, 30-32 per cent account for tomatoes alone. Besides, soybean has a share of 55 per cent and remaining with chilly, ginger, potatoes, capsicum, biscuits, raw cotton, etc.

The exports from India to Pakistan through Attari-Wagah land route have almost doubled to Rs 840 crore during April-December 2010 against export of Rs 447 crore in corresponding period last year.

Sudden ban imposed on export of onion has hit the traders of both the countries with Indian importers claiming that Pakistan had not even allowed the supply of contracted orders of onion before the announcement of ban.

Indian traders claimed that vegetable suppliers in Pakistan had also shut down their vegetable business in protest against imposition of ban on onion export. Notably, close to 7,000 tonnes of onion had arrived since the commencement of onion export to India from Pakistan via land route.

Because of the supply of Pakistan onion, prices of onion in Punjab and Chandigarh had come down from a level of Rs 60-65 per kg to Rs 45-50 per kg.