Peshawar - Proposed shifting of dry port from Peshawar to Azakhel area of Nowshera district has created concerns among public circles, particularly traders, as it would render many people jobless.

President of Tajir Ittehad Mujibur Rehman said that traders would appeal to the court of law if the dry port was shifted to Azakhel area as it would render many people jobless in the provincial capital Peshawar.

“A dry port is needed in Peshawar because it is the main city of the province where hundreds of people come from other areas for jobs,” he added.

He said that at first Peshawar suffered due to terrorism, and then BRT also affected the trader community as their businesses were adversely affected by the project, and now the government was planning to shift the dry port from Peshawar to Azakhel area. 

“We don’t oppose setting up of a dry port in Azakhel but we need a dry port in Peshawar also where it is already providing jobs to drivers, exporters and importers,” he added.

He said the trader community would also approach the members of parliament and would also appeal to the court against the decision of the shifting.

When contacted, an official of Pakistan Railways said that there was space issue in the dry port in Peshawar that was why it was being shifted to Azakhel area in Nowshera district.

To a query about why not a separate dry port be set up there as Peshawar being a big city needed its own port, the official said that two dry ports, one each in Peshawar and Azakhel, were possible if the customs authorities agree on it.

“The dry port has already been shifted to Azakhel and the activities will fully stop in Peshawar once the remaining vehicles and transactions are completed here within a month,” he added.

However, Deputy Collector Customs in Customs Headquarters, Mehmood Khattak, told The Nation that it was not the Peshawar authorities’ decision, but the Federal Board of Revenue authorities in the federal capital Islamabad had to decide on this. 

“It is not my concern here in Peshawar, but I think authorities in Islamabad can discuss and decide the issue,” he added.

Meanwhile, another senior bureaucrat, while discussing the issue, accepted that Peshawar being the provincial capital needed its own dry port and if it was shifted from Peshawar, many would lose jobs while a number of businesses would also be adversely affected.

“Authorities in Islamabad need to set up another dry port in Azakhel while also let one port continue functioning in Peshawar,” he added.