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Sindh Chief Secretary assures industrialists to resolve Ghotki gas field issue

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Chief Secretary Sindh, Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, has assured the industrialists of SITE area to look into the matter of gas being produced from Ghotki gas field, and provided to SNGPL whereas Sindh has the first right of use on the gas produced in the province as per constitution. He has also assured to strive to enhance the development budget of SITE Limited (the administrative body of SITE area Karachi) in the forthcoming budget.

 

He was addressing members of SITE Association of Industry on the occasion of his visit. He was accompanied by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Iqbal Memon, Munawar Ali Mahesar, Managing Director, SITE Limited, Mukhtiar Ali Abro, DC Keamari, Taha Saleem, DC Central and Ghulam Qadir Talpur, DC West.

On the suggestion of Zubair Motiwala, Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput agreed to hand over the project of laying of 24-inch dia dedicated water pipeline from Hub Dam to SITE area, measuring 11-KM from KWSB to SITE Limited.

Chief Secretary Sindh informed the members that the Thar Coal Project is producing 660-MW electricity and appreciated the efforts of Zubair Motiwala in making this project a reality. He highlighted that another 660-MW will be operational soon increasing our reliance on indigenous resources.

“There exists much potential for solar & wind energy in Sindh and I hope that withdrawal of sales tax from solar panels will be notified soon in line with the Prime Minister’s directives. Speaking on inflation related matters”, he stressed, adding that it’s a global phenomenon and as long as we rely on imports the problem can be resolved in the short run. He deplored that despite being an agriculture-based country we import wheat.

 

To solve our problem, Chief Secretary Sindh stressed that exports should be incentivized and tax net should be broadened, saying that as compared to many other countries, we have a majority of young population which is our strength. IT services are in demand at present and there is a need to invest in education and training of youth. At this, President SITE Association of Industry Abdul Rasheed mentioned that the Association has offered land to the government for the setting up of an IT Complex in SITE area.

 

Commissioner Karachi, Muhammad Iqbal Memon spoke on recent fire incidents and said that every fire including fire in Korangi factory and super store building are not due to short circuit. The reason for the fire eruption in the building has not yet been known. We are fully aware of the miseries of Affectees of the building. He added that there was no access to the building inside. It has been decided to start checking of large buildings and advised to use electricity as per approved load only.

 

Patron-in-Chief Zubair Motiwala, speaking on this occasion highlighted statistics of increase in exports and decrease in gas consumption through efficient use by Karachi industries. He remarked that due to the current economic situation, our production cost has increased by almost 40pc and the steps taken by the government on interest rate, power, gas and POL tariff are not favorable. He questioned how gas produced in Ghotki can be given to other provinces and added that against the requirement of 1200 MMCFD, Karachi is getting only 900 MMCFD.

Motiwala further said that the Combined Effluent Treatment Plant is necessary not only for social compliance of export industries but also for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and combating marine pollution in our coastal areas. Besides from the domestic TP-I of KWSB, the SITE industries can get around 42 MGD treated water which industries are ready to purchase. He said that 95pc revenue of SRB is collected from Karachi but unfortunately, no one takes the ownership of the city.

On the matter of recent fire incident in super store building, Motiwala questioned how permission for high rise buildings are being granted when we don’t have arrangement, equipment and chemicals for firefighting at such high rise buildings and requested the Chief Secretary Sindh to look into the miseries of the occupant of flats of the building.

Earlier, President SITE Association of Industry, Abdul Rasheed welcoming the Chief guest, gave a brief introduction of SITE area and highlighted issues of SITE area which included decades old water & gas lines, fixing of quota for SITE industries in K4 Project, increasing encroachments, no street lights and no progress on the combined effluent treatment plant.

SAI chief suggested that the Green Bus route should be extended to cover SITE area up to Merewether Tower to facilitate millions of workers, employees and business people of the area. He stressed the need for more funds to uplift infrastructure of SITE area and one-window operation covering all Sindh government departments to better facilitate industries and create an enabling environment.

He expressed the confidence that as a result of signing an Agreement with the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, the SITE area will be clean soon. Abdul Rasheed further said that billions of rupees have been invested in machinery, but if energy issues are not addressed on time, the investment will not be fruitful.

Former President, Jawed Bilwani appreciated the Chief Secretary on paying 1st visit to SITE Association of industry and drew his attention towards PC-I prepared by KWSB for laying of water line from Hub dam to SITE which has not yet been approved and requested for approval and also offered to make fresh PC-I in consultation with SITE Limited.

He added that Infrastructure Development Cess is not collected in other provinces as per our information and requested the Chief Secretary to use his good offices to withdraw 1% Infrastructure Development Cess on Export Oriented Units on the basis that sustained economic growth is only possible through exports. Bilwani also requested to expand the ICI bridge to facilitate traffic from Gulbai as there is room for expansion.

Former President Majyd Aziz on this occasion offered to arrange for the training of firefighting staff from the platform of EFP. Immediate Past President Abdul Hadi highlighted shortage of fire staff and stressed the need to hire new staff to meet the requirements as new Fire Tenders provided by former PM are lying unutilized due to non-availability of staff.

Hadi was of the opinion that Operation and investigation are presently working separately, which should be combined for better performance of the police department and added to include SITE area in Safe City Project. He added that 417 surveillance cameras are required in SITE out of which, 150 have already been installed.

He requested to provide password to SITE Crime Monitoring Cell to check recording of cameras in case of criminal activity to which, Zubair Motiwala added that we will ensure security of password. Abdul Hadi mentioned that SP SITE has not been posted for more than 2 years now and there is need of appointing a reputable SP in SITE Area. He added that currently the police department does post-incident jobs whereas the tendency should be towards pre-incident jobs.

Chairman of Labour sub-committee Abdul Kadir Bilwani highlighted inspections by various departments of the Sindh government and requested for one window operation and one inspection in a year.

As a gesture of goodwill, the association’s crest was presented to the Chief Secretary Sindh and Commissioner Karachi. Members of the Association attended the meeting in large numbers. SVP Saud Mahmood proposed a vote of thanks.

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