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No cargo flight from Kandahar to India current solar year

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No cargo flight from Kandahar to India current solar year

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Feb 05, 2020 - 17:22

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Fresh and dried fruit traders and their representatives on Wednesday said no cargo flight took place from southern Kandahar province to India current 1398 solar yearinfo-icon.

Traders and commerce and industry officials called for resumption of cargo flights to India and said the air corridor was a great opportunity for fresh and dried fruits exports.

Haji Nanai Agha, head of Fresh Fruits Traders’ Association in Kandahar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they were fully prepared to export fresh fruits from Kandahar to India through the air corridor, but no flights were made since the beginning of current year.

He said creating the air corridor was a symbolic move from the government as it was stopped after its launch.

Grape production in Kandahar was high but traders were in trouble exporting them and they needed cargo flights this year more than any other years in the past, he said.

Pakistaninfo-icon is the biggest market for Kandahar fresh fruits, but this country increased taxes by 300 percent on Afghanistaninfo-icon exports from the beginning of the current year”, he said.

"Pakistan always creates problems for fresh fruits exports, it sometimes shuts the border and sometimes increases taxes”, he said, adding that gardeners were obliged to dry their fruits and then export them abroad as exporting them fresh could generate a low revenue.

Agha said it was responsibility of the government to resolve the problem and facilitate exports through air.

He said exporting fruits through air was effective and asked the government to reactivate it.

Haji Aziz, another fresh fruits trader in Kandahar, said traders were obliged not to export grapes to Pakistan due to high taxes.

He said Pakistan used to increase taxes just when grapes ripen in Kandahar province. “The government only makes promises about solving problems and does not take any action”, he said.

He also said no cargo flights were made from Kandahar in a long time despite the fact the province made 75 percent of the country’s fresh fruit exports.

Pakistan previously charged 86,000 rupees on a truck of fruits but increased the charge to 320,000 rupees this year, he said.

Aziz said gardeners waited for a year so their products ripe and earn some money for their families, but problems destroyed all their efforts.

Haji Nasrullah, head of Kandahar Chamber of Commerce, also expressed concern over stoppage of cargo flights between Afghanistan and India and said the central government was responsible for the problem.

He said he also did not know the reason behind suspension of cargo flights to India.

He said cargo flights to India began in 2017 when seven cargo flights were made from Kandahar to New Delhi followed by four flights next year, but there were no flights this ongoing year, he said.

Nasrullah said Kandahar fresh fruit exports had come to a halt and a limited amount of dried fruits remained for export.

He added they had told the central government in the season of fresh fruits that they were ready to export fruits through air corridor, but the government did not care.

He said Kandahar province made 70 percent of fresh and dry fruit exports to foreign countries and the province needed more flights than any other province.

Fresh and dry fruit exports from Kandahar amount to 200,000 tons and even two flights a day are not enough to carry them, he said.

Nasrullah said cargo flights were a serious need for Kandahar and they should be started again.

He said that Chabahar Port was also a great route for fruit exports and Kandahar exported 300 tons of dry and fresh fruits to India this year.

But he said traders faced problems at bringing their money through the route.

He said the issue was shared with the central government and Indian consulate and they had asked for creation of a joint bank for traders’ money transfer.

Kandahar governor’s spokesman, Baheer Ahmadi, told Pajhwok that air corridor was a great alternative for transit and commerce for landlocked countries.

He said cargo flights from Kandahar were suspended due to some problems. However, he did not explain the problems.

But he said the local administration was trying to resume cargo flights between Afghanistan and India.

Mds/ma

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