The process of setting up a modern marble city has finally started as 300 acres of land have been acquired for the purpose which will house more than 200 processing plants, officials say.
Sindh Stone Development Company, a joint venture between public and private sectors, has taken up the task of mining, processing, value addition and export of marble and other stones in the province.
Zubair Motiwala, Chairman of Sindh Board of Investment, is the chairman of the company while provincial ministers for industries, investment and mining are its members.
A meeting of the company held on Friday decided that foundation stone of the marble city, which had been on the backburner since 2006, would be laid in January. A master plan is being prepared, which will be completed in a month.
Investment Secretary and Company Director Younus Daga told The Express Tribune that the purpose of establishing the marble city was to promote value addition and bring modern technology to the marble industry.
In its budget, the Sindh government has earmarked Rs50 million for the project, of which Rs3.5 million has been spent on the purchase of land while the rest will go towards preparing the master plan and laying the infrastructure.
Daga said the private sector would play an important role in running the marble city, adding plots would be given in a transparent way to real investors only and allotment to those who failed to install plants in the stipulated time would be cancelled. “Lease of the plot will be given only after completion of the project,” he said.
Sindh Stone Development Company Director and Marble Industries Association Chairman Sanaullah Khan said the marble city project would bring prosperity to the province.
It would help increase exports of marble goods with shipments expected to jump to $1 billion in a short period from the present volume of $60 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2011.