KARACHI:While expressing deep concerns over an announcement made by Karachi Development Authority (KDA) to cancel all the allotment letters of residential plots including commercial and industrial in Mehran Town, President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Muhammad Idrees has appealed the Sindh Government to refrain KDA from cancelling the allotment letter as it was purely an anti-business, anti-public and anti-economy move.
In a statement issued, President KCCI said that KDA intends to cancel allotment orders of 1401 plots where hundreds of industries were providing jobs to millions of workers since many decades. “What will be the fate of all these industrial units, millions of workers and their families who get their bread and butter from these units”, he asked, adding that the poor masses and the business community were already going through the toughest times of their lives due to disaster caused by covid-19 pandemic and now the KDA has also stepped in to further aggravate the hardships instead of acting leniently in an extraordinary situation.
He pointed out that Mehran Town, which was announced in 1973, was spread on a huge land of 1,150 acres and it was an area where a large number of small sized, medium and cottage industries had been established long time ago which were an integral part of the supply chain as it was these industries which, besides catering to local demand, also provide essential raw materials to many industries all over Karachi. It must also be kept in mind that the cottage industries are a major source of generating employment particularly for women which was the basic phenomena for establishing these cottage industries in the neighborhoods such as Mehran Town so that women could easily focus on work as well as their homes. The biggest advantage of setting up cottage industries in residential areas was that it creates gender employment which has always been the top priority of the Sindh government, he added.
President KCCI said, “The decision to cancel allotment orders of all the residential plots by alleging misuse of plots and violation of rules and regulations of the allotment has to be reviewed and immediately withdrawn in the larger interest of the economy and the poor masses.
He said that it was a matter of grave concern that the decision to cancel allotments has been taken independently without consulting with stakeholders and the affectees which would not only trigger poverty and employment but also lead to anarchy therefore, the Sindh Government has to intervene in this serious matter and prove that it was a peoples’ friendly government otherwise, the emerging situation would also have an unhealable impact on Sindh’s economy.
While recalling the exemplary and matchless work done by KCCI to rehabilitate all the shops and markets set ablaze in Boulton Market incident back in 2009 under the able supervision of Siraj Teli, Zubair Motiwala and AQ Khalil, President KCCI offered its platform where the Sindh Government and owners of industries in Mehran Town can sit down to settle the modalities and modus operandi for smooth and secure operations at all the industries in Mehran Town in future.
“What is required is that safety measures are in place or not. The government must ensure availability of safety provisions like emergency exits and fire extinguishers at all the industries in Mehran Town. If these regulations are adopted and factories run on pre-defined principles then there is no harm in allowing them to continue to operate Cottage Industries in Mehran Town. It is a well-known fact that cottage industries are out of conventional industrial areas that is actually the definition of cottage industries”, Muhammad Idrees said, “We are always available to mediate and play our role so that things could settle down. Cancellation of leases is certainly not the solution as these industries were running since many decades.”
President was of the opinion that industries in Mehran Town were being used as a scapegoat so that the relevant authorities could save themselves from being grilled by the honorable courts for their failure to promptly respond to a particular fire incident that happened in this area last month in which precious lives were lost. “The loss of lives could have been prevented if the Fire Department had speedily and efficiently responded to the incident which unfortunately didn’t happened as they took so many hours to reach the spot”, he said, adding that it was a well-known fact that whenever a fire incident happens in any locality, the fire-fighters never reach on time that worsens the situation hence it was the fire department which was the actual culprit, not the industrialists and poor workers of Mehran Town who were being penalized.