Trucks stranded at ICP, drivers fight cold

Long queues of trucks from Amritsar and Chabbal to Attari Integrated Check Post stretching for kilometres are proving to be a nightmare for truck drivers and their colleagues waiting to offload consignments at the ICP for export to Pakistan in the cold near the Indo-Pak border.

On Tuesday, trucks were seen lined up for nearly 6 km from Attari on the Amritsar-Attari road, while on the Chabbal-Attari road, trucks were queued up for nearly 9 km.

"I came here on December 15, and the truck has moved only three kilometres towards Attari, in the last four days," said truck driver Channa, who was carrying cotton to be exported to Pakistan. Standing near a milestone that read Attari 5 km, Channa rued that it might take another five days to enter the ICP.

Sucha Ram, who came from Baddi with yarn, said he has been in the queue since December 14. "I have run out of money after spending on food all this while," he added.

There are others who have taken to roads with their makeshift-cooking paraphernalia to prepare meals. A few gangs of thieves active in the area are rubbing salt on the wounds of truck drivers by giving them sleepless nights and attempting to pilferage consignments from trucks.

A BSF official said a few incidents of thefts had been reported. The unprecedented rush towards Attari is being blamed on rail wagon crunch .

"Due to wagon crunch, the consignments are being diverted through road, thus causing the heavy rush," said Rajdeep Uppal, an Amritsar-based exporter.

The Central Warehousing Corporation manager at Attari, Rameshwar, attributed the queues to lesser intake of trucks by Pakistan, due to lack of infrastructure and delay caused by truck scanners installed at the Pakistani ICP.

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