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Govt relaxes fumigation norms for import of agri goods from Afghanistan

New Delhi: Taking a step further to strengthen Indo-Afghan relations, after dispatching medical aid to Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds, the government of India has now relaxed fumigation regulations for import of agricultural commodities from Afghanistan via Attari-Wagah land route.

Acting on the demands of the Indo-Afghan traders, the ministry of agriculture ordered to extend the relaxation of fumigation regulations for commodities for which treatment is stipulated in plant quarantine till March 31, 2022.

The Indo-Afghan traders appreciated the government for the gesture. However, they are expecting a permanent solution in the future. Notably, India is the second-largest destination for Afghan exports.

Rajdeep Singh Uppal, President, International Chambers of Commerce, Amritsar, said, “We welcome the decision made by the Union government and this is a positive decision. A permanent solution should be found to this so the trade between India and Afghanistan should grow further without any hindrance.”

It is pertinent to mention that the Indian traders were earlier worried over denial by the Indian government to import dry fruits from Afghanistan fumigated with aluminium phosphide which resulted in stalling of trade for over a month.

A section of media raised the demands of the traders of dry fruits who urged the agriculture ministry to give them permanent permission to import duty fruits fumigated with aluminium phosphide from Afghanistan.

While welcoming the relaxation given by the government, President of Indo-Foreign Chamber of Commerce, B K Bajaj said, “This is a good temporary decision by the government of India but permanent solution should be made while consideration of ground realties.”

Bajaj informed that the traders of Afghanistan and India had to face a big loss as they had to pay huge demurrage charges during the closure of the business for a month.

Despite the lack of direct land access from India to Afghanistan, India and Afghanistan reportedly had been doing more than Rs 1000 crore worth trade every year through the integrated check post at Attari-Wagah land route.

Notably, India for last many years has been asking Pakistan to grant India transit route to Afghanistan through Attari-Wagah land route but Pakistan never responded positively to India on this issue.