LAHORE - The Pakistan Customs and Railways in a joint meeting with the APCMA have agreed to take security measures to plug all possible loopholes after detection of narcotics in Pakistani cement consignments in India.
The minutes further revealed that both Railways and Customs officials have promised to depute more staff at T-10 where cement is being loaded for India-bound wagons. It was also agreed that examination of goods would be done at T-10 after filling of wagons.
A spokesman of Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said that there have been four incidents in past few months when Indian Customs found some quantity of heroin in cement consignments. He said these detections besides tarnishing the image of the country are adversely impacting cement and other exports to India. He said that cement manufacturers have persuaded Pakistan Customs and Railways for tightening of security of India-bound wagons carrying cement after detection of narcotics.
As per agreement data, Railways officials agreed to seal loaded wagons after examination by the Customs. For this purpose they agreed to use quality seals provided by APCMA. They also agreed to depute more police at T-10 premises to stop entry of unauthorised persons.
Railways, however, expressed their inability to detain all loaded wagons at T-10 because of shortage of space. However they assured to keep full vigilance on loaded and sealed wagons when they are stationed at Wahga Railway track for some days before crossing over to India. The Railways officials agreed to install scanners for scrutinising loaded wagons.
It is to be noted that exports to India in fact have been on constant decline ever since the two countries opened their borders for liberal bilateral trade. The decline is not due to lack of cement demand in India but because of very stringent non-tariff barriers erected by the neighbouring country. Pakistan’s cement is preferred by Indians because of its better quality.