Closure of 97pc printing presses renders thousands jobless

Peshawar—The controversial decision taken by PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, directing Textbook Board to go into open tender system at the country level in the name of transparency, has resulted in closure of 97 percent of printing presses (PP) in the province rendering thousands of laborers jobless.
The decision taken by KP government of open tender policy for allocation of Textbook Board printing has left the local printers and publishers in a lurch because of their inability to compete with printers of Punjab, said Iqtidar Ali Akhunzada, President Frontier Printers and Publishers Association.
After announcement of new policy more than 80 percent of textbook business has gone to Punjab through open tender, forcing the local printers to shut down their units and lay off staff both regular and contractual, Iqtidar added. He said there are around 90 printing presses registered with Textbooks board for printing of books and almost 97 percent have been closed down due to implication of the new policy.
Our laborers including some skilled printers, mechanics, pasters, cutters, binders etc are searching for jobs in other fields to make their both ends meet and this would also be a big loss for us if we lost our skilled working team, Iqtidar added.
The number of affected labors who lost jobs, he continued, is about nine to ten thousands who were directly associated with presses while hundreds of others were seasonal labors who were hired during printing season.
He said out of 90 registered printing presses only 3 have got some printing and that too in shape of sub-letting by printers of Punjab. “The decision of allocating printing order of KP to printers of other provinces is against the spirit of 18th constitutional amendment which protects the rights of provinces,” Iqtidar opined.
If the printing of text books policy was not rescinded, the printing press would convert into empty goodowns, wasting hundreds of millions of rupees investment and leaving thousands of laborers job less.—APP

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