MULTAN - Pakistan Labour Rights Council (PLRC) warned the government on Thursday that the decision to shut down brick-kilns would render hundreds of thousands of labourers jobless, forcing them to commit suicides.

Addressing an emergency news conference here, the PLRC secretary general Mohsin Bhutta said that the decision to close brick-kilns in the name of smog and pollution was uncalled for and it must be withdrawn forthwith.

He pointed out that the current government also blocked fund allocated by the previous government for Khidmat Cards issued to the poor brick-kiln labourers.

He asked the government to immediately release funds for Khidmat Cards and let the brick-kilns operate.

He said that the poor families of brick-kiln workers were horrified on government’s decision.

“Brick-kilns are the only source of income for them. They earn their bread and butter from these kilns. If these kilns are shut down, their kids will face hunger, disease and death,” he warned.

He added the PLRC would launch a country-wide protest drive if the decision was not withdrawn forthwith.

Commissioner Multan Division Nadeem Irshad Kiyani disclosed on Thursday the divisional administration had got vacated over 4000-kanal state land from the occupation of land grabbers in Multan division.

Chairing a high level meeting to review progress in operation against encroachments and revenue recovery, the Commissioner directed all Deputy Commissioners to personally monitor ongoing operation against encroachments and take action against qabza mafia. He asked them to reject political pressure and get the land vacated from the illegal occupants.

He further directed the officials to offer alternate places to handcart vendors who have got affected during the operation. He said that indiscriminate operation would continue against land grabbers.

While briefing the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner Multan Mudassar Riaz Malik told that 656-kanal land had been retrieved in Multan district.

He added that land worth billions at Eidgah Chowk and Nawan Shehr Chowk had been vacated.

He disclosed that the anti-encroachment operation was being expanded to the commercial markets and rural areas in next phase.

The Commissioner directed the revenue officers to ensure 100 per cent recovery of government dues. He directed them to hold their court twice a week to offer relief to the people.

He warned that the officers with poor performance would be transferred to other districts. He directed the deputy commissioners to convene a meeting of revenue officers fortnightly. He asked concerned officials to make arrangements for putting the record of stamp duty, registry tax and agricultural income tax online.

He issued order for opening of a post office counter at registry branch and directed concerned officials to send all registries via post office.