KARACHI - The boat modification project, which is pending since several years, has almost been stopped due to the negligence of authorities concerned, The Nation has learnt. As per details, development work to modify the small and big fishing boats is still in doldrums. The Pakistan Fisher folk Forum (PFF) official Sami Memon has said that despite passing of two years, no further development has been witnessed to modify the remaining boats, as only 85 boats have been modified out of 218 by Karachi Harbor Authority (KHA) for marine water. While 200 small boats have been modified out of 400 for inland water in Khenjar Lake. The fishermen claimed that the modified boats did not meet the criteria set by the European Union (EU) experts. Sami also revealed that the fishing equipment including fishing nets and others worth over Rs7 million have been stolen from Khenjar Lake. They were kept at Fishing Community Hall near Khenjar Lake. On the other side, the fisheries ministry had announced that they will invite the EUs inspection team for examination of the boats after achieving the modification target of at least 200 boats, while the EU would be requested for lifting of ban on export of Pakistani seafood. Last year, the fisheries department had claimed to have expedited the process of the boat modification. The officials, in 2009, claimed that 216 boats had been modified. It is pertinent to mention here that in early 2007, the EU had imposed ban on seafood export from Pakistan, forcing the previous government to ask Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) to intervene. Technically, due to such EU action, the approved companies could not export their products to the EU. To meet the EU conditions, upgrading the Karachi Fish Harbor (KFH), renovation of auction halls and modification of boats are taking place. The fisheries department admitted that the government had suffered huge financial losses due to imposition of the ban. The federal government had initiated to standardise and modify the Pakistani boats to convince the EU officials to resume their business. The federal government had directed the KFHA to achieve the target of modifying 200 fishing boats by the end of 2008. Earlier the task was assigned to the Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) to introduce five such modified boats but it failed to accomplish the task. Later, the government had decided that the work would be done through KFHA. The cost of each boat modification was estimated at Rs400,000, while the same was previously quoted at Rs1,200,000 by the Karachi shipyard. The Sindh government had taken several initiatives to re-develop and upgrade the Fish Harbour, bringing it at par with the international standards and to enhance the seafood export. In this regard, the provincial government had floated tenders of Rs122m for procurement of machinery. and equipment in 12 categories for handling fish harbour operations under the ADP 2007-08, which was estimated to 2008-09.