Chandigarh, July 19 (Agency)
Accepting a long-pending demand of traders and the Punjab government, union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma Thursday said that his ministry would soon issue orders to facilitate trade from the Attari border through containers instead of sacks.
His assurance came at a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here.
The land border trade between both countries is ar present allowed only through sacks and gunny bags. Trucks from both countries cross the international border to load and unload goods at the new integrated check post (ICP) at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar.
Sharma also said that a process has already been set in motion by both India and Pakistan governments to evolve a consensus on a uniform pattern of holidays to avoid any sort of inconvenience to traders.
On the demand raised by Badal for allowing the export of wheat to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries via the Attari border, Sharma apprised him that the matter was being taken up by the central government with the Pakistan government and possible headway was expected soon.
He said that the demand for increasing the number of items being traded through the Attari border was also being actively considered by the ministry. At present only 137 items are allowed to be traded through Attari compared to nearly 6,000 through ports at Mumbai and Karachi.
He said that the union government would soon set up a mega leather cluster at Jalandhar at a cost of Rs.125 crore to boost the leather industry in the region.
Later, after a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Sharma announced that the Manesar-Bawal Investment Region would be declared a National Manufacturing Investment Zone.
He also announced the setting up of a National Institute of Design at Kurukshetra and a National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Panchkula near Chandigarh.