India can go more than half way for better ties with Pak

India on Friday said it could go more than half way to have better ties with Pakistan as things improve and pitched for consolidation of trade between the two countries.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2010, 18:38 PM IST

Hussainiwala (Punjab): India on Friday said it
could go more than half way to have better ties with Pakistan
as things improve and pitched for consolidation of trade
between the two countries.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today hoped relations
with Pakistan would improve in times to come and lead to
consolidation of trade links with the neighboring country.

Reacting to the demand of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister
Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Union Home Minister said "as things
improve we could go more than half way to have better
relations with Pakistan. Trade must resume with Pak. I
sincerely hope it will come sooner than later."
Chidambaram, who inaugurated a visitors` gallery where
freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were
cremated, said people living in border areas "carry with them
a special burden and responsibility."

He said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and
Sukhbir Singh Badal had been raising the problems of border
villagers, including those faced by farmers in sowing on land
beyond fencing, and the Union Home Ministry was addressing
these issues.

Reacting to the demand for extended working hours for
farmers during summer, Chidambram asked the DG BSF to go for
new timing of 6 am to 6 pm instead of present timing of 7:30
am to 5:00 pm.

He also asked the DG to explore the possibility of
providing power connection for tubewells installed beyond
fencing.

Paying glorious tributes to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and
Rajguru, the Union Home Minister described Hussainiwala as
"Punya Bhoomi" (sacred land).

He said he was happy to lay the foundation stone of
viewers gallery where Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were
cremated.

Chidambaram said the people and the land of this area
have suffered a lot.

He said "we are proud of sacrifices made by freedom
fighters for the freedom of our country.

The Union Home Minister said the expanded viewers gallery
could accommodate 3000 viewers and whole area around the
gallery would be landscaped and beautified.
Earlier, Chidambaram laid the foundation stone of the Rs
6.22 gallery at Joint Check Post at Hussainiwala to facilitate
more and more tourists to visit this Indo?Pak border and
witness the popular Retreat ceremony in which BSF jawans and
Pak rangers simultaneously lower the flags of their respective
countries ceremonially every evening.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal present
on the occasion submitted a memorandum to Chidambaram
seeking opening of Hussainiwala border on the pattern of Wagha
border to establish trade link with Pak besides also seeking
a special infrastructure and industrial package for rapid
development of border belt.

Before laying the foundation stone, Chidambaram laid
wreathes on the memorial of Bhagat Singh, Rajgur and Sukhdev.
Later, he took a guard of honour form the full contingent of
BSF on Zero Line.

Chidambaram handed over a basket of fruits and sweets to
the Pak rangers stationed at the joint check post.

Sukhbir also sought an industrial package on the pattern
of hill states to the border areas, linking Amritsar with
Ferozepur by rail and introduction of Ferozepur?Bathinda new
daily Shatabadi.

He also sought Chidambaram`s intervention in releasing
compensation to farmers at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acre per
year from the year 2002 onward, extended working hours for the
farmers with land beyond fencing, release of Rs. 29 crore
compensation for land acquired for a 17-foot road along the
fencing.

PTI