RAWALPINDI, Oct 1: The City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) on Monday formed a three-member committee tasked to find land for the establishment of an industrial zone in order to shift the industrial units away from the city’s residential areas.

The district industry department told the district coordination officer (DCO) that more than 37 industrial units dealing in chemicals, plastic and toxic material were in the residential areas of the garrison city.

These units had inadequate fire safety measures which could lead to accidents in future.

Taking notice of the alarming situation, the DCO immediately formed a committee comprising Additional District Collector (ADC) Saif Anwar Jappa, District Officer Industry Masood Malik and the district officer labour.

Interestingly, no state land is vacant in or around the city for the establishment of an industrial zone. The CDGR also lacks funds for the purchase of private land.

A senior official of CDGR in this regard said the attempt to make a committee was mere eyewash employed by the CDGR to show the provincial government that its orders to ensure fire safety in the industrial units and high-rise buildings were being implemented.

He said more than 300 units lacked the required safety measures, and there was a dire need to remove them. Action should also be taken against the industry department for failing to implement the industrial laws.

The official claimed that the CDGR had twice failed to relocate the industrial units out of the city because of resentment from some local politicians.

Other officials maintained that the provincial government had to make a permanent policy to shift industrial units outside the city area. Otherwise, small industrialists would return within a couple of years.

When contacted, DCO Saqib Zafar said the CDGR planned to relocate the industrial units from the city.

“We received complaints against 37 units dealing with inflammable material and formed a committee to find land outside the city within a week to relocate these units,” he said.

He added that two wooden furniture godowns had been reduced to ashes on Sunday morning despite Rescue 1122’s three-hour effort. “There are many furniture shops on Benazir Bhutto Road and Khanna Road, which need to adopt fire safety measures as they are located in the centre of the residential areas,” he said.

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