Post heroin hauls, Pak stops exporting cement

A meeting between Indian traders and railway officials was held on Friday, where they demanded more wagons to be made available so that they can send their consignments to Pakistan.

Indian traders have been facing a shortage of wagons ever since Pakistani cement exporters stopped sending their consignments after repeated seizures of heroin —usually found in cement bogeys — on trains coming to India from Pakistan

The problem started following seizure of 105 kg heroin, worth Rs 525 crore, from a Pakistani goods train that was bringing in a cement consignment to India in October.

Indian traders are now also shying away from importing the material from Pakistan fearing legal harassment while Pakistani traders are hesitating against sending consignments until a foolproof mechanism is in place to check smuggling of narcotics.

This has resulted in commodities worth crores of rupees waiting to be exported to Pakistan as Indian traders were using the wagons that came bearing cement to move their own consignments to Pakistan.

"After heroin seizures started creatimg trouble for the traders, I took up the matter with Bestway Cement Limited in Pakistan. They discussed the matter with other companies in Pakistan and decided to stop exports to India until adequate measures were taken to check the smuggling through goods train," All India Cement Importers Association President M P Singh Chatha told The Indian Express .

"And after the cement trade was stopped and there was non-availability of wagons, the conditions have come to such an impasse we have a one-month stock of soyabean awaiting to be exported to Pakistan from Attari," Chatha added.

Divisional Railways Manager at Ferozepur N C Goyal said: "Yes, there is a problem of wagons. After the meeting today, I have written to the ministry to provide 40 wagons for sending export consignment. I am hopeful that the wagons will be made available in a fortnight," Goyal told The Indian Express, adding that some old wagons were available but could not be used to carry goods.

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