Commerce minister Anand Sharma is in a hurry to put his mark on the India-Pakistan border, keen to inaugurate the still under construction integrated checkpost (ICP) coming up at Attari to boost trade between the two countries.
Since the ICP has missed the third deadline, the minister, who is travelling to Pakistan early next week had proposed for a “soft opening” under the flash lights to record its opening for posterity.
Officials on the ground, say the ICP will take almost another six months to put up facilities and a year to open up for traders.
Home minister P Chidambaram along with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had the laid the foundation of the ICP in February 2010. The facility is designed to handle 800 trucks daily.
Besides ICP, the ministries have not even finalised three agreements on custom cooperation: to avoid arbitrary stoppage of goods at each other’s ports; setting up of a grievance redressal mechanism to address disagreements between traders; and a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) related to acceptance of certificates of internationally accredited laboratories.
Sharma with an entourage of officials will attend the concluding ceremony of the India show in Lahore in February.