Questioning the rationale behind not allowing trade with Pakistan via land route when the same was being carried out through the sea route, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi Monday said he will soon write to the Centre, besides seeking an appointment with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging them to open trade with the neighbouring country via Attari border.
“If trade can be carried by sea route with Pakistan, then why is it not permitted through land route? It (trade via land route) would propel enormous opportunities of economic prosperity,” Channi said in Amritsar.
His statement came two days after Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who too was present at the event, batted for opening of trade with Pakistan through Attari-Wagah land route.
Channi’s predecessor, Capt Amarinder Singh, while commenting on the issue in Chandigarh, said, “First you (Pakistan) stop shooting my soldiers then we will talk about trade”.
Meanwhile, acceding to a major demand of the PHDCCI, the CM announced that the foundation stone of a convention centre for trade exhibition over an area of 10 acres would be laid within this week to enable the organisation to carry out diverse range of activities to promote trade and industry in the region in a big way.
Channi also said a digital single window system would be put in place shortly to ensure all kinds of requisite permissions from a unified platform to industrialists in a seamless manner. “This move will also enable them to apply for permissions from their homes to almost remove the user interface, with the officials, thus, increasing transparency,” he said.
Listing his achievements, Channi said the state government has withdrawn 40,000 value added tax related cases registered against traders, besides abolishing institutional tax, doing away with the need to obtain change of land use in case of extension of factories and industrial areas etc.
“We are also planning to introduce curriculum in educational institutions in line with the demands of the industrial sector,” added the chief minister.
Citing the huge potential of Amritsar in religious tourism, he expressed satisfaction that Punjab has been ranked number one in terms of infrastructure development in the tourism sector.
On the occasion, Punjab Congress chief Sidhu also underlined the significance of the cross-border trade. Describing Amritsar as the biggest market of Asia, he said that it would open new vistas of prosperity for Punjab as trade and business activities would be carried out with 34 countries.