Have sought Centre permission to export perishable goods to Pakistan: Sukhbir

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday said the Punjab Government has requested the Union Commerce Ministry to allow the export of perishable goods to Pakistan and other countries through the Wagah border. Sukhbir added that the move will increase their shelf-life and put Punjab products at par with international ones.

Speaking at the valedictory function of the 10th Agrotech, 2012, organised by CII here, Sukhbir said that the opening up of the Wagah border and granting it dry port status, by allowing the export of 6,000 goods, could be a game changer for entire northern region of the country. He added that the Punjab government has asked the Union Government to set up an Integrated Container Depot at the ICP in Wagah besides a food storage centre there.

The deputy chief minister said that in the last month alone, some 5000 trucks have crossed Wagah, despite there being permission for the export of only 137 goods. He added that the state government was seeking additional infrastructure at ICP because with the likely approval for the export of 6,000 goods to Pakistan next month, there was an urgent need to expand the capacity of the Dry Port at Wagah.

Meanwhile, on the agriculture front, he said farmers will have to come out of the wheat-paddy cycle and focus on low water consuming cash crops. He added that the Punjab government was seeking investment, particularly in the area of agriculture diversification, food processing and conservation of water.

Sukhbir further said that the government has already allowed a multi national company to set up a Maize Research Centre at PAU, so that farmers can be educated to shift to high-yield maize crops.

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