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Pakistan stalls dot Siliguri trade fair

Pakistani traders are not being able to attend the fair due to visa-related issues but their products have reached the stalls, say officials

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

With a view to maintaining good cross-border relationship with Pakistan, the first edition of the Indian International Siliguri Trade Fair being organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and GS Marketing Associates (GSMA) has five stalls all the way from Pakistan. However, Pakistani traders failed to attend the fair, which began on 28 September, owing to visa problems, organisers said. The fair at the Kanchanjungha stadium will end on 8 October.

“The BCCI and the GSMA are organizing the Indian International Mega Trade Fair for the first time in Siliguri with 150 stalls,” chairman of the trade promotion & business development committee, BCCI, Prakash Shah said.

“We have been organizing such fairs for the last 24 years in various states of India. We started with 50 stalls in the year 1994 in Kolkata. The current fair is our 206th fair and is the first one in Siliguri. Since the last two years, Pakistani traders are not able to attend the fair due to visa-related issues. However, they have showed interest and the products have reached the fair. They attended the last fair in 2016 in Kolkata. We want to maintain healthy relations with all the neighboring countries but, there are some government-related issues,” Mr Shah added.

“Five countries– Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal– and 10 states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar, and Odisha are participating in the fair. A total of 150 stalls have been put up in the fair, showcasing handlooms, artificial jewellery, ayurveda, processed food, textiles and garments. Pakistan has put up five stalls at the fair- -two marble and three garment. There is no bitterness in business relationship between the two nations. Business relationship improves diplomatic relations between the two countries rather. After this fair, we will be organizing another fair in Patna in Bihar on 24 October to 4 November,” Mr Shah said.