Porters at Wagah not celebrating Diwali

November 14th, 2007 - 10:22 am ICT by admin  
Wagah, Nov 9 (ANI): Porters on Wagah are not celebrating Diwali this year alleging government’s apathy towards them since the opening of trade through truck between India and Pakistan.

Nearly a month back, India and Pakistan allowed their respective countries to roll down trucks through Wagah land route.

This has increased the volume of trade between the two countries, besides adding revenue to the government treasury, but has resulted in less of work for porters.

Nearly 1500 porters at Wagah have decided not to celebrate Diwali alleging government’s non-cooperative attitude.

Before the opening of trade via truck, goods were off-loaded by trucks in their own countries and then carried manually by hundreds of porters on both sides of the border.

Since the opening of border for trucks, porters have been demonstrating against the government and have demanded alternate jobs from the government, but nothing has been done so far.

Joga Singh, a porter, said: “I have been working here as a porter for the last 35 years, but this the first time I had to return home empty-handed on the day of Diwali”.

“We are scared to even go back home. What will we do when our children ask us for money and gifts?” asked Jaspal Singh, another porter.

Jaspal Singh said that the government should come up with liberal policies for the porters.

He said that we do realise that the trade should be increased between the two countries but government should also think about the porters.

First time in 60 years, both India and Pakistan are sending loaded trucks to each other’s territory through the international Attari check post.

This trade move is expected to boost direct trade between India and Pakistan four to five times. (ANI)

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