ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Textiles on Tuesday expressed strong reservations over the closure of Pakistan Textile City Project, Karachi.

The parliamentarians were shocked when Textiles Secretary Hassan Iqbal announced that the project would be closed as the management has no plan to revive it. “How can you just close an important project, this project could provide thousands of jobs and could help eradicating extreme poverty from Thatta, Badin and other areas of the Sindh,” Rasheed Godail questioned.

The secretary apprised the committee that he held meeting with all stakeholders including board of governors and head of the project but they don’t had any plan to run the project. He further said that the daily interest of the project was Rs700,000. He said another reason for shelving the project was unavailability of water and natural gas.

According to master plan, the Karachi Textile City had to achieve the export target of $2 billion and generate 80,000 jobs. At that point, lawmakers asked the policy of granting gas connections and said that there are some textile mills who are getting gas at a subside rate.

Member of National Assembly Jamshed Dasti and some other pointed out that the factories getting gas at a concessional rate, including mills owned by Mian Mansha. Someone said Nishat Chunian is getting gas at a concessional rate due to which other mills could not compete.

Members decided to call head of SNGPL to ask who were the textile mills getting gas at a subsidised rate and why. The members came hard on the secretary that without exploring other options why a productive and future project was dumped and the secretary was failed to give some logical reason despite many attempts.

It was observed that due to mismanagement and corruption, the debt of textile city was exceeding to Rs2.4 billions but it was the job of the Textile Ministry to work out some strategy to revive the white elephant. The committee directed the ministry to sale out 250 acers of its land for payment of its outstanding debt and efforts should be made to make it operational by involving Chinese and foreign companies for its betterment.

The government had acquired 1,250 acres of land from the Port Qasim Authority for establishing the textile city in 2007. The company was established in 2009. During the meeting, some pointed out that since no minister was appointed to run the affairs on permanent basis due to which the ministry was in shambles.

Dasti said that last year sugar ‘mafia’ got Rs17 billion. He said Habib Waqis mill was defaulter of 42 crore and influential have got gas quotas. Discussing another point, the Ministry of Textile Industry secretary presented the report on the performance of Plastic Technology Center (PTC). He was of the view that unfortunately the PTC was in terrible condition and needs to be focused. The Committee was unanimous that new campus of National Textile University should be established at PTC in order to make it profitable organisation.