Steps on hold for improving trade with Pakistan: Jairam Ramesh

February 1st, 2009 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Feb 1 (IANS) Intiatives to improve trade with Pakistan will remain suspended till it cracked down on architects of the Mumbai terror attacks, said Minister of State for Commerce, Industry and Power Jairam Ramesh here Sunday.“Trade improving initiatives (with Pakistan) cannot be resumed till the conspirators of Mumbai terror attacks are brought to justice,” Ramesh told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

Talks with Pakistan for improving bilateral trade relations were suspended immediately after the Mumbai attacks.

“Earlier, India was planning to export tea to Pakistan through the Waghah border crossing. After the Mumbai attacks, the plans were put on hold. The government is now exploring the Afghanistan and Iran markets,” he said.

Regarding the revival of the tea industry in the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Ramesh said tea produced in the region would be showcased at both national and international levels.

“The Indian Tea Board is planning to revive the Indian Tea Promotion Centre in Cairo. Kangra tea will be showcased there. At the national level, a buyer-seller meet would be organised at Palampur in June for promoting Himachal tea,” he said.

Asking the state’s tea growers to make an effort to raise production, Ramesh said 950 million kg tea was grown annually in the country and Kangra’s share was a dismal 0.9 percent.

Tea is grown on 2,312 hectares in Kangra and Mandi district. This year (2008-2009), production was 850,302 kg, as against 1,221,624 kg during the year 1999-2000.

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