The city government is set to launch an operation against hazardous industrial units located in residential areas.
The District Office of Industries has now decided to seek disconnections of their electricity and gas supply once notices served to them in September expire.
The notices were served to 267 factories in residential areas. The factories were told to relocate out of the city or to an industrial zone in three months. So far, only six have moved.
The notices were served in the last week of September. There is some confusion about when the period granted to these factories expires. The local administration will approach the Industries, Commerce and Investment Department for advice on whether the crackdown should commence from December 16 or December 26.
A survey was taken by the district officer (Industries), Civil Defence Department and district office of environment in September 2012 after 49 workers died in two major industrial disasters.
The survey found 7,750 factories operating in residential areas. 2,107 of them were small or medium industrial units. The factories were assessed on a 100-point hazard scale. 267 of them scored more than 80 points on the hazard scale. Of those, 71 scored more than 90 points. The 71 factories were issued ‘final notices’ on May giving them a week to fix the problems identified in the survey or relocate.
The notices, served under Section 146 D-1 of the Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001, identified four areas of concern: illegal establishment of the factories in residential areas; inadequate or faulty safety measures; insufficient work space and lack of mandatory open spaces or setbacks; and environmental hazards.
Industries District Officer Muhammad Azhar said no further relaxation would be given to the factories that were given three months. He said the respite was granted in view of the fact that 6,000 labourers worked in the units. He said if the factories did not relocate even with the disconnection of gas and electricity, they would seal the premises. He said that most of these factories were on Bund Road. He said these factories could be accommodated at the Sundar Industrial Estate.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2013.