To boost bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, rail-linked Inland Container Depots (ICD) is the top priority at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari.
This was revealed by Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik while presiding over a business conclave organised by ICP Chamber of Commerce. The conclave was attended by the Land Port Authority of India’s member finance CV Prasad, Central Warehousing Corporation’s Anurag Tripathi, Senior Divisional Manager (operations), Northern Railways, Ferozepur, Vivek Kumar and Customs Commissioner Dipak Kumar Gupta.
The ICD is already prevalent in Ludhiana and Suranussi near Jalandhar.
At present, 10,000 trucks of rice per month go to Ludhiana and then to Kandla and Jamnagar ports (both in Gujarat) for export to Pakistan. This entails exorbitant logistic cost. With the coming up of direct rail ICD, there will be no more haulage charges. Malik said the nearest spot Suranussi was at least 70 km away from Amritsar and it was not viable until unless ICD was set up at Attari check post.
At present, Attari offers six railway lines — three each for passenger and goods trains from Pakistan. The proposal is to extend the Attari rail link to the ICP port — 3.2 km apart by road.
The minimum distance between the ICP’s boundary and the railway line is just 800 m. “A survey has been conducted and the land requisite for the project has been identified at Attari. I have already brought it to the notice of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and expect a positive response. Besides, I have sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to open round-the-clock crossing at the Attari-Wagah check post through an additional gate,” he added.
Besides, full body 22-wheel truck scanners will soon be a reality here. The Home Ministry has released Rs 40 crore for installing two sets of scanners at the ICP. In the absence of scanners, trucks have to be queued up for clearance. These scanners will save time and help curb smuggling of forbidden articles too.