Oct 11, 2016

Railway gears up to curb illegal trade between India and Pakistan



A nine-layer security arrangement has been put in place at the Old Delhi Railway Station from where the Delhi-Atari Express departs twice every week.

The Zero Point railway station near Zero Line on the Indo-Pak International Border
New Delhi: Rampant illegal trade between India and Pakistan through land and rail route has prompted the railway authorities to beef up security arrangements at Delhi and Atari railway stations.

Security and intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on luggage being carried by passengers on the Samjhauta Express. A nine-layer security arrangement has been put in place at the Old Delhi Railway Station from where the Delhi-Atari Express departs twice every week.

According to security officials, a majority of Pakistani nationals returning from India tend to carry a large quantity of betel leaf, Indian clothes, cosmetics, medicine and other eatables. However, the Railways has restricted the quantity of luggage passengers can carry with them.

Notably, Indian betel leaf and pan masala are quite popular in Pakistan since the former is not grown there.

No wonder a betel leaf in Pakistan costs over Rs 20-30 depending on the availability in the market. “There is a big difference between the prices of local and imported ‘paan’ simply because a duty of `250 per kilo is levied on the import,” a source said.

He added that the importer also had to pay 10 per cent sales tax and five per cent income tax. Local paan costs Rs 50-100 per kilo, while imported paan costs Rs 300-550 per kilo.

Delhi Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Arun Arora said that security has been enhanced at the Old Delhi railway station particularly in wake of growing tension between the two countries. “Security arrangements have been beefed up. All passengers and luggage are frisked at different levels before they are allowed to board the train,” he said. Agencies like Delhi Police, Railway Protection Force, Immigration Bureau, customs, enforcement directorate and railways carry out an intensive exercise before departure of train.