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Vegetables for Pakistan rot, as truck drivers wait to cross border

Vegetables for Pakistan rot, as truck drivers wait to cross borderAttari/Wagah, Oct. 5 : Truck drivers here have expressed their anguish as vegetables that are to be sent to Pakistan, are rotting due to administrative apathy at the Attari border in Punjab.

Hundreds of truck drivers are being made to wait for four to five days in a queue with vegetables to cross the Integrated Check Post (ICP).

They have alleged that due to the authorities biased behavior, local truck drivers break the queue and move forward.

Trucks carrying fresh vegetables, mainly tomatoes, are lined up outside ICP, and have been waiting for days to cross the border.

The two sides noted with satisfaction the business-to-business contact, which is steadily growing between both countries.

Speaking to a reporter, a truck driver, Prakash Bishnoi, said that due to authorities' apathy, our trade relations with Pakistan could ruin.

Local truck drivers said that they had to bribe the authorities so that they are able to cross the border at the earliest.

"If we send fresh groceries to Pakistan, it will be good for our trade relations with them. They will take the products and will give money as well, but if we send vegetables they will not take it and return it back," said Bishnoi.

About 300 trucks waited at the border to cross over to Pakistan.

Both sides have implemented measures to improve trade and business ties, as they slowly rebuild relations that were shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In April, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited India, the first trip by a Pakistani head of state in seven years.

Both sides appreciated the recent signing of the new liberalized bilateral visa regime, which fulfils a long pending demand of the business communities of both sides to ensure a better enabling environment for bilateral trade.

The Pakistan side also appreciated the recent measures, which have been taken by India to remove its earlier restrictions on inbound and outbound investments to Pakistan.

The Pakistan side expressed appreciation of the steps taken by India to reduce its South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA ), Agreement, sensitive list by 30 percent from 878 tariff lines to 614 tariff lines as agreed earlier during the sixth round of talks. (ANI)