People’s movement down, trade volume up between India, Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 8:18 am ICT by admin  
According to the figures from the land customs station on the Indian side, the total number of incoming and outgoing people has dropped by 20 to 25 percent in 2006-07 over the previous year.

The drop in movement is more from the Indian side - nearly 55 percent - between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

In 2005-06, the number of incoming passengers cleared by customs officials here were 24,786. Of these, 13,415 were Pakistani nationals and 11,371 were Indian nationals.

A year later (2006-07), the figures of incoming passengers dropped to a total of 19,341 - comprising 13,254 Pakistanis and just 6,087 Indians.

The outgoing passenger figures from India were 17,359 in 2006-07 as against 23,597 in 2005-06 - a drop of nearly 25 percent.

While the numbers of people have decreased but the duty collected by customs authorities has gone up - from Rs.295, 000 in 2002-03 to Rs.1.04 million in 2005-06 and a much better Rs.2.6 million in 2006-07.

Commercial trade between both sides - dealing in Vegetables, meat, fruits, livestock, and certain other products has reached Rs 600 million so far and is expected to increase four to five times with trucks from both sides being granted limited passage to cross the border since October 1.

Till October 24, 715 trucks loaded with tomatoes and other vegetables had gone from India to Pakistan.

The trade of tomatoes alone in this period was worth Rs 143 million.

Customs officials attribute the varying visitor numbers, particularly from India, to the Indian cricket team’s tour of Pakistan in 2005-06. Several thousand Indians went to Pakistan to watch the matches.

Though another series was held in India later, visa restrictions by the two countries continue to hinder contact between people of both countries.

With relations improving after 2003, the movement of people was again allowed through Attari.

The people of both sides now have more options to visit the other side, including traveling by air, rail, train, or by bus.

The Samjhauta Express peace-train runs between India and Pakistan twice weekly. Bus services run between Delhi and Lahore, Amritsar and Lahore, and Amritsar and Nankana Sahib. (ANI)

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