Goods from Pak pile up at Attari, traders worried - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Goods from Pak pile up at Attari, traders worried

Goods from Pak pile up at Attari, traders worried

GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 13

Traders demanded clearance of their consignments that have arrived at the Integrated Check Post (ICP), Attari, prior to a hike in customs duty on the imports from Pakistan. Following the Pulwama attack, the government has hiked customs duty to 200 per cent on goods imported from Pakistan.

Various trade bodies have sought the intervention of Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to end the stalemate. Anil Mehra, president of All India Dry Dates Association, says, “The loss of our soldiers can never be quantified. Goods lying at the ICP should be released by charging a normal import duty to give respite to traders.”

The government had issued a duty hike notification on February 16 (at 8.40 pm) after the February 14 Pulwama attack. On that day, the imports worth Rs 5 crore were registered and Rs 1 crore as duty was paid. This entitled the traders to lift the goods even on the subsequent day (February 17) as per norms.

“How could the notification be made applicable to the goods arrived in the afternoon and till 5 pm on February 16? Despite paying the normal import duty, we were not allowed to get our consignment,” Mehra said.

Land Port Authority of India manager Sukhdev Singh said “The new duty rates got applicable the same day in our electronic transaction process as and when notification was received, irrespective of timing. Now, it was for the government to take a final call.

The traders resented that 200 per cent duty on imports has witnessed an escalation of Rs 10 crore, resulting in making the goods redundant. A bag of Pakistani cement, normally costs between Rs 250-Rs 300, now invites an import duty of Rs 800. Similarly, the duty on a truck load of dry date, which was Rs 2.22 lakh earlier, has now been hiked to Rs 32 lakh, including GST.

Trade comes to a halt

The trade between two neighbouring nations has come to a standstill at the Attari-Wagah border since February 16. Consignments are lying at the ICP Attari cargo for the customs clearance following the import duty hike:

  • 90,000 bags of cement
  • 6,000 bags of dry dates
  • 500 mt of limestone, gypsum, chemicals & drugs

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