Amritsar: Afghan trucker held with heroin, trade at Attari halts : The Tribune India

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Amritsar: Afghan trucker held with heroin, trade at Attari halts

Dry fruit business worth Rs 4000 crore hit

Amritsar: Afghan trucker held with heroin, trade at Attari halts

Photo for representational purpose only. File



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, October 22

The import of goods from Afghanistan to India through the Attari border in Amritsar came to a halt today after truckers from the neighbouring nation began an indefinite stir demanding the release of a fellow driver from whose truck 435-gram heroin was allegedly recovered.

Worth Rs 4000 crore, dry fruit business hit

  • India imports dry fruits, medicinal herbs and seeds worth around Rs 4,000 crore from Afghanistan
  • The demand for dry fruits is at its peak currently due to the festival season
  • Afghan truckers want the driver released, allege drugs planted by Pak smugglers
  • Claim driver is innocent and that contraband may have been planted on his vehicle

Pathan Abdul was arrested at the Integrated Check-Post (ICP) on October 3 after the BSF allegedly found a packet of the contraband hidden next to the mudguard of one of the rear tyres of the truck, loaded with dry fruits. The BSF subsequently handed over the driver to the Punjab Police for further investigation. The drivers had been pressing upon the Indian authorities to release Abdul and proceeded on “strike” after their demand went unfulfilled, said sources. Afghan truckers claimed that some Pakistani smugglers may have affixed the packet to the truck’s metal base with the help of a magnet when the vehicle was crossing their territory (Pakistan). Sources said the drivers staged a protest on the Pakistani side of the Attari-Wagah ICP. They appealed to the Indian Government to release Abdul, a father of three daughters who was the only breadwinner in his family.

Anil Mehra, an importer, said several trucks carrying dry fruits entered India in the morning and the supplies stopped thereafter. A prolonged strike could spell doom for the dry fruit trade, especially as the demand was at its peak due to the festival season, he said.

India imports about 40 kinds of dry fruits, medicinal herbs and seeds worth around Rs 4,000 crore from Afghanistan every year. A good amount of it comes through the ICP. Afghanistan, however, is able to meet only 10 per cent of India’s dry fruit demand while the rest comes from the United States, Australia, Iran, Turkey and other countries.

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