LAHORE - Jute is the cheapest natural fibre and is hundred percent biodegradable and recyclable and thus environment-friendly. According to All Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) Chairman Humayun Mazhar, woven polypropylene bag manufacturers have tried to downplay the importance and significance of jute bags because of slightly higher initial cost. However, jute bag is proved to be the most environment-friendly packaging material available for storing agricultural products such as wheat and it also wipes out the unfavourable impact of usage of polypropylene bags to our environment and ecology. Although from 1996 to 2000, the food departments of Pakistan used polypropylene bags for the storage of wheat but had to revert back to the jute packaging because of contamination issues. Humayun Mazhar said that all storage solutions for food grain should be cost-effective as well as environment-friendly. According to him, the government established jute industry, which is playing an important role in agricultural economy of the country as jute bags proved helpful for the storage of agricultural products. The jute industry in Pakistan is quite efficient and competitive and it is exporting jute products and competes with India and Bangladesh in the international market. There are twelve units working in the country. The government of these two countries provide generous subsidy to the jute industry where as in Pakistan very limited export assistance is available to the jute industry. The jute industry in Pakistan employs more than 20,000 people is tightly interwoven with jute, which is second only to cotton as the worlds most widely used natural plant fibre. Last week Pakistans vital jute industry was snarled in a strike of nearly 60,000 workers who are demanding higher wages. Some mills were the scenes of clashes, and others resolutely evicted all workers. The mood was different at the mills of one jute maker, who has retained the good will of his striking workers by continuing to provide them with their regular fringe benefits of inexpensive company housing and rice at below-market prices. Such shrewdness irked other mill-owners, but it came as little surprise. Gul Mohamed Adamjee, 44, has not only made his mills a South Asia showcase of enlightened management (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have visited them) but has propelled himself into the industrys top position as Pakistans Jute King. His Adamjee Jute Mills Ltd produce a third of Pakistans jute goods and consume more raw jute than all of the mills in Britain, which ranks second to Pakistan in the manufacture of jute products. Bags & Tea. In an industrial complex near Dacca, East Pakistan, some 20, 000 Adamjee workers annually produce 70 million burlap bags and 90 million square yards of cloth to be used in products as diverse as automobile seats and jute suits. Nearby, Adamjee has just opened a new factory that will ensure even greater use of Pakistans jute crop by producing particle board out of jute stems, providing a low-cost wood substitute for lumber-poor Pakistan. He is also almost single-handedly diversifying Pakistans industry, using jute profits to build a $2.1 million cotton mill, a $6.3 million sugar refinery, a tea company and a vegetable-oil plant in other locations. Until the Moslem-Hindu partition that created Pakistan in 1947, the Adamjee family owned a jute mill near Calcutta and ran a thriving export business. Then partition left Pakistan with 42~/o of the worlds jute crop and no jute mills. To Adamjee, a Moslem, his duty was clear. He liquidated his substantial holdings in India, moved his entire family to Pakistan, where the grateful government helped him finance the new nations first jute mill. Today, the familys assets are $75 million. In West Pakistan, Adamjees two brothers have constructed a $6.3 million cotton mill, a $5.2 million paperboard mill and a chemical factory. A family holding company, Adamjee Sons, Ltd., established and owns Pakistans second-largest insurance company and a major bank with 120 branch offices. Mohameds Mosque. I suppose I am a millionaire, says Adamjee, a poor Pakistani millionaire. He has attempted to repay Pakistans hospitality by establishing a $420,000 science college and contributing $100,000 a year to charity. As for his workers, whom he expects to see back on the job soon, Adamjee pays them double time for overtime, also provides a pension plan, free medical care and schooling. On the company grounds at the Dacca complex, the benevolent boss has built a house of worship that his workers have respectfully nicknamed the Adamjee Mosque.