Importers and exporters are irked at the merger of the local Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT) office with the DGFT, Ludhiana.
The Union Commerce Ministry’s foreign trade arm, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, took the decision of closing its regional offices in Amritsar, Goa and Puducherry with a view to optimally utilise its human and material resources two days ago.
These three offices have been merged with Ludhiana, Mumbai and Chennai offices.
A leading pharmaceutical exporter, Raman Gupta, said the excuse forwarded by the ministry that the local office didn’t have substantive workload to justify a full-fledged regional office did not sound plausible
He said the border district was exporting merchandise, including, basmati rice, shawls, chess, pharmaceuticals and textile worth over Rs 2,200 crore.
He said the figure apparently pointed towards a good number of exporters active in the region and they had to frequently consult the DGFT office for documentation.
“All exporters have to seek import and export code numbers, popularly known as IEC number, for dabbling in export,” he said. Later, they regularly come in touch with the DGFT. For instance, banks issue relation certificate to exporters which is dispatched to the DGFT which displays these on its website. “The DGFT is also authorised to release two to five per cent subsidy on export of freight on board value,” he added.
A city resident, Harjap Singh Aujla, flayed the decision of the Union government. He said the holy city was among the fastest growing cities in the state. He asserted that the potential of export of perishable produces from the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport remained unutilised. He recalled that direct flight to London had made it possible to conveniently export fresh farm produce from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. He said it was a major demand of restoration of direct flight to London.
Aviation experts have already stated that exports to the Central Asian countries, like Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, would be the next prominent markets, he said. He added that in case vital infrastructure was withdrawn at this stage, it would be extremely difficult in future to commence their trade.