LAHORE: Trade between Pakistan and India through the only integrated check post at Wagah-Attari border has come to the lowest level after labourers on Indian side went on strike over payment issues.
Official sources told Customs Today that laborers working on the Indian side suspended their work since last Wednesday.
Labourers working for loading, unloading of goods have refused to work and blockaded the passage of trucks carrying Pakistani gypsum after Indian authorities withdrew charges on consignments that did not involve physical and manual handling,” customs personnel at Wagah told Customs Today.
More than two kilometers long queues of trucks can be seen on the GT Road on Pakistan side, while situation on Indian side is not different except for the fact that lines of vehicles awaiting entry are somewhat shorter.”
Custom officials added that the Indian labourers were not happy with the official revision of charges issued on September 11, 2017.
Centre Warehousing Corporation (CWC), appointed as custodian of the ICP by the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), stated that no handling tariff would be charged against the loose cargo (gypsum) that arrives in the vehicles fitted with hydraulic unloading system,” the officials said, quoting a circular issued by Indian authorities said.
They added that similarly, there will be no handling charges in case of trucks being exported directly where no customs examination was required. “When the labourers learned about the circular, which took effect from September 11, they stopped loading, unloading the consignments from midday after failures of their negotiations with the Centre Warehousing Corporation,” another official said.
A gypsum exporter from Pakistan, said the importers were paying almost Rs60 per ton on the import of gypsum as labour handling charges, but it did not involve any labor. “Gypsum is transported to the ICP in hydraulic dumpers. The drivers dump it at importers’ designated place in the integrated check post,” he said.
It must be mentioned that importers have been paying almost Rs2300 to Rs2400 per dumper since 2012. The Indian importers believed that it was injustice to pay handling charges on gypsum.