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East Sikkim authorities issue 32 passes for Nathu La traders (Zee News)

Zee News (India Edition)
May 11, 2009

Gangtok, May 11: In order to encourage the Indian traders to participate in the annual border trade at Nathu La, the East Sikkim district authorities have issued passes to 32 traders against a total of 100 applications in this regard, a senior official said on Sunday.

"We have issued 32 passes to the Indian traders so far to enable them to take part at Nathu La border trade, while six more passes are ready for distribution to the traders after obtaining clearance from security and intelligence agencies," East Sikkim District Collector Vishal Chauhan said.

A total of 100 Indian traders have applied for passes for participation in the Sino-India border trade that commenced on May 4 last, he said, adding all applicants will be issued passes in due course of time.

Chauhan denied reports in a section of local media charging the district authorities for handling the issuance of trade passes in a "hamhanded manner" which prevented the Indian traders to attend the inaugural function last week and said that 27 trade passes were ready for distribution among the traders prior to the resumption of the border trade.

"The district authorities cannot be faulted if the traders failed to turn up before the district authorities to take their passes," he said.

The District Magistrate, at the same time, clarified that the issuance of trade passes to the traders was a cumbersome process involving scrutiny and clearance from various state and central government agencies.

With the election process on in the state, the government agencies, both the central and the state, have had pressing issues to deal with which delayed the issuance of the trade passes to the Indian traders, he said.

The fourth edition of the border trade at Nathu La had resumed on May 4 last and a ceremonial inauguaral function was held at Sherathang Mart.

Ironically, no Indian traders could make it to Nathu La on that day as they did not have the passes with them causing embarrassment to the organisers even as a contingent of 60 traders from Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China led by a senior commerce department official Kesang Diki had attended the function.

It may be mentioned that the Indian traders are issued a mandatory trade pass and the Import-Export Code Number (IEC) to enable them to participate in the annual border trade.

Bureau Report

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