Swiss couple on peace tour hit roadblock at Attari border

January 30th, 2009 - 11:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Amritsar, Jan 30 (IANS) A round-the-globe peace tour by a Swiss couple has hit a roadblock at the Attari border - thanks to Indian laws that do not allow their ponies into the country without special permission.The globetrotters, Matthias and Celina from Switzerland, are stuck at the India-Pakistan joint border checkpost at Attari, 30 km from here, as customs officials are not allowing their ponies to be let into India without formal sanction.

Customs’ laws bar any animal import into the country without special permission.

“We have not faced any problem with these ponies in any other country. We didn’t know about Indian regulations,” the couple pointed out.

The couple are using the ponies to transport luggage. They said that their tour could be jeopardized if permission was not granted to them to carry the animals ahead.

Customs officials at the border checkpost said that they wanted to help the globetrotters but were tied down by the rules.

“We have communicated to senior officials in Delhi for permission in this case. We can understand their problem. They can take the ponies once the permission comes,” a customs officer said here.

In the past, Punjab chief ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh had got lambs and a horse into India from the same border post by seeking special permission.

Without the special permission, all animal import into India has to go through a tedious quarantine procedure.

But the couple said that the permission was taking too long to come and the animals were being forced to remain out in chilly conditions.

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