Despite repeated complaints by various labour unions, the district administration has failed to retrieve some 300 residential flats allegedly grabbed by politically influential people in Govt Allama Iqbal Labour Colony Sialkot where they have been living illegally for many years.

These flats are meant for providing relief and residential facilities for the local registered labourers, industrial workers and their dependents closer to their work places. The flats were grabbed by the people with alleged malpractice of the officials of Labour Department, said Workers’ Federation Sialkot President Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf and Secretary General Abdul Majeed Butt. They urged while talking to newsmen Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Commissioner Gujranwala Division Khawaja Shamail Ahmed and others for early retrieval of the flats.

When contacted, the officials of Sialkot Labour Department denied these allegations. They said that they knew nothing about occupation of the flats and added that they will take serious notice, if any case of illegal occupation of any flat was brought into their notice.

FOOTBALL INDUSTRY WITNESSES BOOM: Sialkot received an order of 6.2 million footballs out of which over 2 million balls have been prepared and are ready for shipment, disclosed former Chairman of Pakistan Sports Goods Association Prof Safdar Sandal.

The order was diverted from China to Pakistan as a result of which about 15 companies of Sialkot are now busy producing machine-stitched footballs and the number was growing fast, he said.

He said that a foreign customer waited in China for a couple of weeks but could not conclude his business there for the reasons of quality, delivery and competitiveness in price and some other reasons. He added that the similar story will be repeated now and more orders will follow and resultantly the football industry will boost and bag a major share of world demand in the years to come.

He said that that the government should take appropriate steps for functioning of Sports Industries Development Centre at the earliest to facilitate the business community of Sialkot. SIDC is a joint venture of Ministry of Industries, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority and Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry worth Rs435.637 million and imported machinery has already been installed in the centre.