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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Bid to plug trade pass gaps

Gangtok, July 20: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling today said the Importer-Exporter Code would probably not be necessary for trade through Nathu-la. The issue would be resolved within this week, he added.

The chief minister was addressing a congregation of former legislators, senior politicians, retired government officials and bureaucrats along with college and school students at Samman Bhavan. The programme was part of an awareness campaign on Nathu-la launched by Chamling since the trade route reopened after a gap of 44 years on July 6.

The chief minister appealed to the people to contribute in every possible way to make the trade route viable. He said the state government had requested the Centre to increase the list of export items from the present 29 to 100 and added that goods produced in Sikkim would be given preference. He also said indigenous production would be encouraged and anyone willing to set up manufacturing and assembling units would be provided with licences and permits instantly.

He asked entrepreneurs to take possession of the 21 shops at Rinchingang trade mart on the Chinese side, which had been allotted to traders from Sikkim, but are still lying vacant.

Chamling said he was leaving for New Delhi at the end of the month with a detailed project report on the development of permanent infrastructure like guesthouses, resting sheds and lounges near the trade mart at Sherathang.

According to the chief minister, the state government will initiate several capacity-building courses to enable the people to make the best of the trade boom. While the human resource development department will initiate courses in Chinese, English, Japanese, French and German, the urban development and housing department will start courses in trade-related activities. A sum of Rs 42 lakh has already been earmarked for this, Chamling said. The courses will begin by this year.

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