ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has sought Federal Government's nod to allow Punjab Tourism Department to allow import of Indian origin red sandstone to begin conservation work on historical monuments official sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said, Tourism Department of Government of Punjab approached Commerce Ministry and forwarded the request of Directorate General of Archaeology, Punjab for allowing import of Indian origin red sandstone for conservation work of historical monuments. Directorate General of Archaeology, Punjab has informed that red sandstone of Indian origin has frequently been used in Mughal Period monuments. This particular stone is found only in Rajasthan region of India and stone of such quality and colour is not available in Pakistan. In order to restore these historical monuments, provision has been made in respective PC-Is for import of red sand from India.

As the requisite quality of red sandstone, used in historical monuments, is only available in India, not in any other country of the world as alternate source and due to its non-availability in Pakistan conservation works under ADP Schemes of Shalamar Garden, Noor Jahan’s Tomb and Asif Jail's Tomb, Lahore are being adversely affected. Therefore, Punjab Government sought permission for importing red sandstone of Indian origin of 4983 Cft quantity from India through local contractor.

As per Para-5(2) (a) of Import Policy Order (IPO), 2020 import of goods of Indian origin or imported from India is banned. However, Para-21 of IPO, 2020 grants power to the Federal Government, for reasons to be recorded, to allow import in relaxation of any prohibition or restriction. Therefore approval of the Federal Cabinet was solicited for granting permission to Directorate General of Archaeology & Tourism Department (Government of Punjab) to import red sandstone of 4983 Cft quantity from India through its local contractor.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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