LAHORE: Cement manufacturers have pressed Pakistan Customs and Pakistan Railways to beef up security along the Wagah border and strictly check the wagons carrying cement from Pakistan to India as narcotics have been found by Indian authorities in some consignments.
In a statement on Thursday, a spokesman for the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association pointed out that four such incidents came to the fore in the past few months when Indian customs seized some quantity of heroin from cement consignments sent from Pakistan.
“These incidents, besides tarnishing the image of the country, are adversely impacting cement and other exports,” he said.
The spokesman said customs officials and Pakistan Railways, in a meeting with the cement manufacturers, agreed that they would take additional measures to plug all possible loopholes in the trade.
According to the measures agreed in the meeting, and also approved by Additional Collector Customs Dr Asif Jah and Railways Divisional Transport Officer Tariq Latif, the customs and railways would install proper lights and depute more staff at T-10 Railway Shed in Lahore where railway wagons were loaded with cement at night.
They also agreed to examine the goods at the shed after their loading on the wagons. Earlier, the wagons were checked much later after leaving the shed.
After examination by customs officers, the railway officials will put a seal on the loaded wagons. They also decided on increasing the number of police personnel at T-10 Shed in an attempt to stop the entry of unauthorised persons in the premises.
However, railway officials expressed their inability to accommodate all loaded wagons at the shed because of shortage of space. They will keep a close watch on the loaded and sealed wagons when they are stationed at Jallo/Wagah railway track for some days before crossing over to India.
The railway officials agreed on the need of installing scanners for examining the loaded wagons. In this regard, they will approach higher authorities to do the needful.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2012.