Islamabad - Local industrialists on Tuesday called upon the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) to reopen closed steel industrial units as hundreds of workers had lost their jobs due to their closure.

"Industrialists are ready to cooperate with Pak-EPA for controlling pollution and they assure they will comply with its environmental standards to keep the industrial areas pollution-free," said Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Atif Ikram Sheikh while chairing here a meeting of industrialists.

He further said many steel industrialists were ready to provide written assurance to Pak-EPA that they would take measures to meet its requirements and stressed that EPA should allow such industrialists to restart manufacturing activities.

Shiekh said that the steel industry played an important role in local economy by generating employment opportunities and making significant contribution to tax revenues. “Therefore, closing down these units because they cause pollution is not an optimum solution,” he argued.

He emphasised that Pak-EPA should avoid such strong-arm tactics in the larger national interest as closing down industries sent wrong signals to the world and discouraged new investment. He urged the Pak-EPA to give at least 90 days to the existing and new steel industrial units so that they could get the required equipment installed for emissions control.

The industrialists assured that if Pak-EPA allowed reopening of the closed units, all cases against it would be withdrawn with immediate effect.