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Business

March 21, 2017

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Plant, protection dept stops 400 containers of pulses

Plant, protection dept stops 400 containers of pulses

KARACHI: The department of plant and protection has stopped around 400 containers of pulses for fumigation.

Importers; however, have criticised the move, saying it is a delaying tactic to blackmail traders ahead of the holy month of Ramazan.

Haroon Agar, former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), on Monday said that regular importers of pulses are facing serious issues because of blackmailing of the department of plant and protection, which started unnecessary fumigation and laboratory testing of pulses consignments of those importers who were frequently importing the commodity from Canada and Australia. 

The move is to harass the importers, who had imported pulses in bulk quantity in order to meet the demands for the holy month of Ramazan.  In normal practice, the department does not conduct fumigation and lab test, as commodities has been cleared by exporting countries, Agar said, adding: “Just ahead of Ramazan, they (the department) takes such action to blackmail importers.”

He said above 1,000 containers are to be shipped in the coming days and if those containers were not cleared on time, then it would result in port congestion, besides huge demurrage and detention charges on importers.  The plant and protection department has stopped the containers in order to prevent agricultural diseases on Pakistani soil. Agar; however, said that the imported pulses are non-seed items; therefore, no question of agri diseases.

Recently, the importers have approached Sikandar Hayat Bosan, federal minister for national food security and research, apprising him about the delaying tactics of the department.  The minister has been informed that imported consignments of pulses were thoroughly fumigated at the country of origin by authentic fumigation companies, which issue certificates about the same for every single consignment.  “There is absolutely no need to carry out additional fumigation, but the plant and protection department refuses to issue certificate unless the consignments are fumigated and tested again, which takes up to 15 days, resulting in the cost escalation of imported pulses.”

Considering the upcoming holy month of Ramazan, the importers demanded the minister to direct the department to refrain from delaying tactics and immediately issue certificates against those consignments, which had already carried certificates of fumigation. 

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