QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Secretary Shoaib Mir has said that the government was taking measures for the promotion of ship-breaking industry and trying to resolve problems being faced by people linked with it.

Presiding over a meeting during his visit to Gadani and talking to representatives of the Pakistan Ship-Breaking Association and the Gadani ship-breaking labour union, he said the industry’s future was linked to the safety and welfare of labourers.

He said that after establishing the Gadani Ship-Breaking Regulatory Authority and steps taken by the departments concerned there was progress in safety of labourers.

Officials of different departments related to ship-breaking industry and Lasbela Industrial Estate Development Authority attended the meeting and briefed the chief secretary on the performance and measures taken by the government for improving working conditions in the ship-breaking yard and welfare of labourers.

The chief secretary, however, said that it was responsibility of the ship-breaking association to launch development projects for the welfare of people of the area.

“The government will not tolerate any negligence in the safety of labourers working in the ship-breaking industry,” Mr Mir said.

He said the government would also take steps for the promotion of the Gadani ship-breaking industry and make it more profitable.

The President of Pakistan Ship Breaking Association, Akhlaq Meman, briefed the chief secretary on measures taken by his association for improvement of working conditions in Gadani shipyard. He said all required machinery and medicines, including ultrasound and laboratory equipment, had been provided to the Rural Health Centre, Gadani, while compensation of Rs1.5 million was paid to the family of each victims.

He offered to set up allied industry of ship-breaking if the government provided land to them. He suggested that a sub-office of the companies registrar should be established in Hub town so the ship-breakers could pay their sales tax in Balochistan instead of Sindh.

“Ship-breakers were paying Rs12 billion sales tax annually,” Mr Meman said.

The chief secretary assured the participants of the meeting that their proposals would be considered. He, however, said that an effective system would be evolved for monitoring all affairs of the Gadani shipyard, adding that the deputy commissioner of Lasbela had been appointed as focal person in this regard.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2017