With Bose speakers rendering melodious songs and CCTV cameras keeping a strict vigil along the way to the new gates from Immigration and Customs counters and Export-Import Cargo sheds on Indian side,the Attari Integrated Check Post is all set to be formally inaugurated on Friday,April 13 on Baisakhi day,scripting a new chapter in trade relations between India and Pakistan – more known for strained relations with each other.
Behind schedule by nearly a year,the ICP would be inaugurated by Union Home Minister P C Chidambram. In attendance would be Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,Union Minister Anand Sharma and a number of MPs and MLAs of Punjab. From Pakistans side,Commerce Minister Mohammad Amin Fahim and Provincial Assembly of Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif,among other dignitaries,would be present.
Built in an area of nearly 120 acres at a cost of more than Rs 100 crore,the Attari ICP is the first to become operational out of the 13 ICPs envisaged for entry/exit points along Indias international land border
The new ICP marks a positive transition from the inadequate facilities at the old Joint Check Post. It boasts of eight immigration desks for arrival and as many for departure. It has six customs desks each for arrival and departure. There are two baggage scanners each for arrival and departure.
The fully sanitized facility comes equipped with scanners and frisking,rummaging and CCTV camera facilities. 230 CCTV cameras have been installed for security reasons.
Addressing the media,Home Secretary (Border Management),A E Ahmed said that the Attari ICP would not only lead to expansion of trade between the two countries and enhancing people to people contact by reducing the processing time,but would also provide employment and business opportunities for the local population.
On passenger movement not taking place through the new gates where Pakistan has insisted for the passenger movements through old gates only,Ahmed said that the issue was being taken up by the Joint Technical Group.
Earlier in the day,Pakistan Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood said that it was more viable to use old gates for passenger movements while the new gates can be used for trade.