KARACHI - Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi has announced the drive to clean Karachi will kick off on Sunday and will continue for two weeks.

Briefing the media about the “clean Karachi” drive at KPT head office here on Saturday, he said 13 major storm drains chocked with garbage and dirt would be cleaned in the first phase. In the second phase, garbage from all areas of the city would be lifted.

The minister said endorsing his call, hundreds of party supporters, citizens as well as private entities asked him to include them in the “Clean Karachi” drive.

Private companies, celebrities and volunteers have pledged their support for the campaign, he added.

To make the drive effective, camps would be set up at various points. Volunteers would also create public awareness, he added.

He informed that KMC, DMCs, KCCI, trade associations and K-Electric have also extended their support for the drive.

The minister said FWO would play important role in the campaign and provide its expertise in this regard. 

Earlier, Zaidi said he presented himself for any sort of criticism and suggestions regarding the ministry and its departments. He was talking at an open discussion session with the seafarer community here.

Shipping and manning agents, personnel from the ministry and seafarers from all age groups were present on the occasion, said a press release issue here.

“I will purge the ministry of any corruption occurring in any department. Gone are the days when the ministry had been a source of minting money from people,” the minister added.

The minister told the audience  that he was trying to take steps for the betterment of the seafarer community, such as ease in VISA in foreign countries, digitization of the shipping office, issuance of SID cards from NADRA Offices from all over Pakistan, ease in Sign-on and Sign-off and introduction of Ok-To-Board in high demand countries.

The minister specifically dealt with the complaints of malpractice in the shipping office and brought the responsible personnel to book. He was also shared his vision of making Pakistan Marine Academy at Marine University.

The Minister shared the shipping policy, which includes a tax exemption for ships till 2030 that will boost the industry, first berthing right to Pakistani Flag carrier ships and  Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) for energy imports and the declaration of shipping as a strategic industry.

The minister, concluding the session, declared his intention to conduct such session quarterly.