KARACHI - The industrialists of Karachi have requested the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce Rs100 billion package for the city in order to rebuild its industrial infrastructure.

Seven associations of industrialists of the city, namely Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Landhi Association of Trade and Industry (LATI), Bin Qasim Association of Trade and Industry (BQATI), North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry, SITE Superhighway Association of Trade and Industry, Federal B Area Association of Trade and Industry, and SITE Association of Industry made this demand from the platform of Karachi Industrial Forum (KIF) at a joint press conference held here on Tuesday.

“Karachi’s plight deserves proper attention from the federal and provincial authorities given the city’s huge contribution to the country’s economy,” said KATI President Zahid Saeed, who then added,

“This plight can easily be seen in the complete collapse of its industrial estates and infrastructure.”

Referring to the sum of Rs3 billion recently approved by ECNEC for Karachi, he said the amount was very meager considering that it had been deducted from total Rs100 billion allocated for development projects. “This is very unfortunate given the importance of this city for the country,” he lamented.

He asked the Sindh CM to sit with KIF to rebuild Karachi, saying the situation had come to such a pass that people were shifting their businesses to other cities of the country. Saeed further said that motorway projects were being announced on a daily basis by the federal government, but nobody bothered about the Karachi-Sukkur motorway.

“Karachi’s industrial areas have virtually turned into war zones due to damage the infrastructure. Therefore, the authorities must come forward and accept the ownership of this important city,” he asserted. LATI President Zain Bashir said the Sindh government should improve the condition of roads and introduce better transport facilities in order to protect the industries from losses occurring due to delays in transporting goods.

SITE Super Highway Association of Industry appealed to the Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of the deteriorated condition of the industrial and trade estates.

“We appeal to the government to stop meting out step motherly attitude to the industrial estates of Karachi. Despite the contribution of 60 percent to the national kitty, we have no roads, no electricity, no gas, no water and no law and order,” he deplored.

“Karachi’s industrial zones have become the dumping yards of garbage and encroachments,” he added.

Mian Muhammad Ahmed, Patron in Chief BQATI, demanded the government to immediately rebuild National Highway (Malir Court, Quaidabad and Murghi khana), Mehran Highway (from Hospital Chowrangi to PQA Culvert) and Korangi Industrial Road (Future Morr, Murtaza Chowrangi to khator Pump).

FBATI President Abdullah Abid said the infrastructure in his area required immediate attention.  He drew the attention of authorities towards both tracks from Shafiq Morr to Godhra, pedestrian bridges at Shafiq Morr, sewerage connection from the bridge of Shafiq Morr to Sohrab Goth Bridge, widening of track from Shafiq Morr to Nagan Chowrangi, construction of service road from Shafiq Morr to Sohrab Goth and removal of encroachments.

SITE Association of Industry Senior Vice President Arif Lakhani stated his area needed 50 million gallons of water daily. He lamented that the water board was providing only one million gallons. “Therefore, 49 million gallons of water is bought by industries of the area,” he said.

Representatives of NKATI appealed for improving traffic management by providing diversions and enhancing security on roads during peak hours.

“The industry is the backbone of the country’s economy and it deserves a quality road and transport infrastructure,” they opined.

KIF representatives complained that during recent rains, the condition of the already frail road network had gone from bad to worse.

“Foreign visitors and business dignitaries are reluctant to visit these areas, which does not augur well for investment in the province,” they stated.