Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday said he would soon write to the Union government and seek an appointment from the Union home minister Amit Shah to flag the issue for opening trade with neighboring Pakistan.
In his address during the 15th Edition of the Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX) in Amritsar, Channi questioned if the trade can be carried by the sea route then why not the same is permitted through the land route as it would propel enormous opportunities for economic prosperity. The CM said a digital single window system would be put in place shortly to ensure all kinds of requisite permissions from a unified platform to the industrialists in a seamless manner.
“This move would also enable them to apply for permissions from their homes to almost remove the user interface with the officials thus increasing transparency”, said Channi.
On the occasion, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu also underlined the significance of the cross-border trade. Describing Amritsar as the biggest market in 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.
Earlier on Saturday, Sidhu urged the Centre to resume trade talks with Pakistan. While talking about Indo-Pak trade during a press conference in Amritsar, Sidhu said that India-Pakistan friendship will increase trade.
“If our friendship is increased with Pakistan then our business will also be increased. I admire our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s scheme when he started Aman Eman Bus Sewa from India to Pakistan,” he added
“Right now we’re carrying out trade of only $3 billion, not even 5 percent of the potential,” Sidhu said.
He further stated that the scope of trade between the two countries and these 34 countries is $ 37 billion. “Punjab has suffered a loss of Rs 4,000 crore in the last 34 months and around 15,000 jobs lost,” Sidhu added.
“I had requested earlier too, I am requesting once again that trade should resume. It will benefit one and all,” he said.