KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that he will never allow the federal government to wind up the textile city project in Port Qasim.
“This project is most important in terms of employment and the economy of Sindh,” he cautioned. He said this while presiding over a meeting of Pakistan Textile City Limited at Chief Minister House on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by industries minister Manzoor Wassan, chief secretary Rizwan Memon, principal secretary to the CM Naveed Kamran Baloch, industries secretary Abdul Raheem Soomro among others.
Wassan told the chief minister said that after the federal government Sindh is the largest shareholder in the company with 16% shares but it has only one director on the board.
The federal government has 40% share, Port Qasim and Pakistan Industrial Corporation have 8% share respectively and seven other companies hold 4% shares respectively. Sindh has paid its Rs200 million share for the development of the city.
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Wassan said that the Sindh government provided 1,250 acres to the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) in lieu of allotment of land to the textile city, which has been established over an area of 200 acres.
PQA issued allotment letters dated August 27, 2006 to the textile city at a cost of Rs1 million per acre. The possession of the land was handed over in 2005.
Shah said that the land belongs to the Sindh government and PQA cannot retain it, even after winding up the project. He directed the minister of industries to make necessary arrangements to take possession of the land in case the federal government winds up the project, to get ready to file a case in court for the land and other issues.
Soomro told the CM that the federal government feels that the project is not feasible, to which Shah replied that Karachi is a port city and Sindh is a cotton growing province.
If textile city is feasible in Faisalabad and Gujranwala, then it is even more feasible in Karachi, he countered.
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Wassan said that there was a Rs3 billion liability against the project, as it had failed to clear the liabilities of the National Bank loan and mark up, PQA ground rent, retention money of the builders and professional fees of the National Engineering Services, Pakistan.
Wassan told the CM that the master plan of the project has been approved, design of combined effluent treatment plant by NEC consultants has been done but the allocation of gas by Sui Southern Gas Company is still pending.
He added that the external water supply pipeline was completed only 19% before being stopped, levelling and grading works have been completed, 9% of the road carpeting work done, building for administration block has been completed, 50% work on the reservoir has also been completed and Karachi Electric has provided one megawatt of uninterrupted power supply.
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The CM demanded the federal government clear the liabilities and start the project as it was planned. “The project will create 150,000 direct jobs and is of immense importance, it cannot be halted,” he said, directing Wassan to speak to the relevant ministry in the federal government and get it done, otherwise other options would be discussed.
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