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CII calls for 24/7 plant quarantine at airport

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THE Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tiruchy Zone is planning to approach high& officials seeking 24/7 Plant Quarantine Station (PQS) at the Tiruchy airport as several exporters and farmers sending vegetables and flowers to foreign countries are facing a loss due to lack of round-the-clock clearance. Currently, a lone Plant Protection Officer (PPO) and PQS works from 6 am to 8 pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday). The PQS office is functional on Saturday (6 am to 2 pm ) and Sunday (11: 30pm to 8 pm).

Exporters said it was not always possible for them to reach the airport within the office hours of PQS. In such cases, the exporters will not able to send the perishable as they most of the foreign countries will not accept the cargo with-out PPO's clearance. With Tiruchy hoping to at-tract investments in food processing sector, during the Glob-al Investors Meet (GIM)-20l9, absence of a 24-hour clearance system will severely hamper business prospects.

 "We are collecting information regarding this and will take it up with higher officials," said S Ananthaltrishnan, Chairman, CII, Tiruchy Zone. According to exporters, round-the-clock clearance can boost export potential of the airport. "Every day we export perishables worth around Rs. 20 lakh and the annual export is about !75 crore. If we have round the clock clearance system, daily export will be around Rs 60 lakhs and the annual export 2216 crore. In fact, Union Agricultural Ministry has to allot more PPOs in Tiruchy as it the regional which has the potential for handling the export of perishable," said a leading exporter in the state.

 According to sources, the air-port recently considered this issue. "We will take necessary measures to boost the export in Tiruchy and we will also address it with Union Agricultural Ministry," said sources.

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