KARACHI: Tanneries are facing an acute water shortage at a peak operational time when processing of hides and skins has just started and the situation is threatening export orders worth millions of dollars.
The Sector 7A of Korangi Industrail Area houses around 250 to 260 units and stands biggest cluster of the leather industry. Through export of tanned leather and leather made-ups, the country earns over $1 billion per annum.
This was stated by Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) chairman M Khurshid Ahmed here on Friday.
He said that the PTA after holding fruitless meetings with the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) high-ups had now sought intervention of the Sindh Governor Dr Ishratual Ibad Khan.
The PTA chairman said that the tannery zone in Korangi industrial area is faced with perpetual drought-like situation which was badly damaging leather industry’s production and quality.
He pointed out that most of the wells digged by the industry, which had been a major source of water supply, have also dried up and there is no supply of water from the KWSB.
“A drought-like situation prevails in the leather industry of Korangi industrial area and KWSB has remained unmoved despite repeated representations and persuasions,” he lamented.
The PTA even took up the matter with KWSB MD on many occasions but it all ended up on promises and commitments and the leather industry continues to suffer for want of water which is one of the essential components needed for processing hides and skins, he maintained. Under the given circumstances, M Khurshid said that tanneries are constrained to buy water through private water tankers which is not only expensive but also damaging quality of finished or tanned leather.
He said that water presently being used by the tanneries is supplied by the tankers mafia which gets it from wells which is untreated and contains high ratio of salts and minerals and this damages quality of leather.
Pakistan is a producer of one of the finest quality of livestock skins in the world but by processing it with hard water, its quality deteriorates and it badly affects price in the world market, he added.
He further stated that the tanning industry needs soft and treated water for producing high quality leather for exports which enables exporters to fetch at least 15 to 20 per cent better price internationally.
The leather industry, he said engages over 100,000 skilled and unskilled workforce and also pays millions of rupees towards duties and taxes to federal and provincial governments.
The PTA chief said that leather sector only demands uninterrupted supply of soft and clean water but is being denied whereas large number of illegal connections in Mehran Town are thriving with the connivance of the KWSB staff.