LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has urged the government to take immediate notice of plot cancellation move in Sunder Industrial Estate (SIE).

While addressing a press conference, LCCI Acting President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed said that industrialists of Sunder Industrial Estate should be given at least three years time for construction while all necessary facilities including electricity and gas should be provided within this period. He said that plot cancellation drive would have dire economic consequences as it would discourage not only domestic industrialists but would also be hindering the foreign investment.

LCCI Vice President Zeshan Khalil, Amjad Ali Jawa, Shahzad Azam Khan and Sunder Industrial Estate Plot owners also spoke on the occasion. The LCCI acting president said that vacant plots at SIE are being cancelled without ascertaining the reasons behind the non-establishment of industries in the prime industrial estate of the country. He said that Sundar management had promised to provide power, gas, water, commercial area, food court, residential colony and transportation for employees, and added that industrialists are bearing additional cost on transport and provision of residence to the labour.

He said that that two transformers of 34-34MW are working in Sundar Industrial Estate while industries of these areas require around 170MW of electricity (already sanctioned load). They said that in the present scenario, who will invest in just buildings when existed industries are facing shortfall of around 100MW of electricity.

He said that vacant plots in Sundar Industrial Estate were purchased by the genuine businessmen to establish industries but lack of sufficient facilities, as promised at the time of allotment of land to establish industries, hampered the process of industrialisation. He said that initiatives like cancellation of plots would scare away prospective investors. They said the entrepreneurs had pinned high hopes on the BOD of Punjab Industrial Estate and expected it would cut down on its expenses.

The LCCI acting chief urged the Punjab chief minister to take notice of cancellation drive that is bound to hit the industrialisation process in the province hard besides shattering the confidence of local investors who are putting in their money into the economic activities despite challenging conditions. He said that the government needs to give lucrative tax concessions to lure investment and create jobs that are more important than even revenue generation.

Jawa and Shahzad said that bureaucratic threats are creating panic amongst the business community. They said that concerned authorities are directing industrialists to use LPG as fuel instead of natural gas that is not bearable because of high cost. They said that payment of gas network for Sunder Industrial Estate has already been paid by the management. They said that only 19 units were given natural gas and after that new connection banned.