Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Attari (Amritsar), November 29 Even as the euphoria around Pakistan ‘granting’ MFN status to India didn’t last long with the neighbouring country swiftly taking a U-turn, the Integrated Check Post (ICP), another move which would have boosted bilateral trade between the two countries, has got delayed.
According to sources, paucity of funds has led to delay in completion of the check post coming up here on 130 acres of land at a cost of Rs 150 crore. The foundation stone of the ICP was laid by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on February 20, 2010, and it was expected to come up within 14 months.
Later, the deadline was extended to June 30. However, sources said the way things were moving at present, the project was now likely to be completed by February next year, which means a delay of 10 months. Sources said all the major works at the ICP had been completed, but the delay in release of funds had hit the project at the fag end when it was being given finishing touches.
Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said the ICP project was being taken care of by the Union Government and they themselves were eagerly awaiting its completion. “We have been following it up with the officials concerned and will do it again when the Joint Secretary, Border Management, visits Attari tomorrow. We have also urged the authorities to at least provide us temporary parking space by the time the project is completed.”
Once operational, the ICP would give a major boost to the bilateral trade between the two countries. The ICP will be a completely sanitised zone with dedicated terminals for both passengers and cargo. It will provide adequate customs and immigration counters, ultra-modern scanner, metal detectors, CCTVs, passenger amenities and other related facilities such as currency exchange, internet facility, warehouse/cold storage, quarantine laboratory, banks, isolation bay, parking, cafeteria and other public utilities in a single modern complex.
The passenger terminal will be a double-storey structure and have an area of 9,658 sq m. It will have a capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year. Similarly, the cargo terminal will be spread over 4,697 sq m. It will have a static capacity of 800 trucks (import) and 320 trucks (export).