Shutting down ship-breaking industry causes huge losses to economy

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Amanullah Khan

Karachi—The shutdown of ship breaking industry at Gaddani beach after the fire incident in which 26 persons lost their lives on Nov.1 need an immediate solution to avoid huge losses to the economy besides rendering joblessness to thousands of workers. It may be noted that the government had constituted a high-powered committee to investigate the fire incident, besides imposing Section 144 at the Gaddani ship breaking yards, putting an end to all ship-breaking activities.
A shortfall of some 0.1 million tons of raw material in the steel industry had been created due to the industry’s closure. All those ships that had arrived at Gaddani beach for breaking and had paid all government dues under the Pakistan government rules and had obtained permission from all relevant government departments, are also affected by the closure of the industry. The Pakistan Ship Breakers Association (PSBA), has appealed to the Prime Minister to revive Pakistan’s ship breaking industry.
It was closed down in wake of the unfortunate fire incident that occurred at the Gaddani Ship Breaking Yard on Nov 1, 2016 in which 26 persons lost their lives in addition to many persons being injured. Addressing a Press Conference, the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association said that while the enquiry committee that had been constituted must act as per the law of the land, the whole industry and inter-linked industries should not be affected.
The PSBA appealed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif as well as the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Sanaullah Zehri, that they should take personal interest in the matter and issue orders to revive the industry. Since the ship breaking industry contributes some 12 billion rupees in taxes on an annual basis, this closure is causing a huge loss to both the federal and Balochistan governments.
In addition, the closing down of the industry has rendered thousands of laborers jobless and the supply of steel to the rerolling mills and other allied industries has stopped. The PSBA expressed its profound sympathies for those who lost their lives as a result of the unfortunate fire incident on the tanker and announced a compensation package for the workers.
This would comprise Rs0.4 million per person under the laws of the Balochistan Government and Rs. 11 lakhs from the PSBA by way of assistance to each affected family.