KOHAT: Plots in the industrial estate here have been allotted to non-local and irrelevant people who have turned these into farms with the connivance of the department concerned.

Moreover, the initial grants worth millions of rupees spent on preparing feasibility reports about establishment of the industrial estates in Darra Adamkhel in 2013 and at Shakardarra in Kohat in 2016 have also gone down the drain.

When contacted, president of Kohat Chamber of Commerce and Industries Haji Rasheed Paracha told Dawn that due to incompetence and corruption in the absence of a proper monitoring system the relevant department had given away 90 per cent plots to the people associated with land mafia.

He said the industrial estate was meant to address unemployment and encourage industries in the region. In all, 152 plots had been created on Dhodha road which were allotted at the rate of Rs60 per square feet at that time, he added.

According to laid down rules, said Mr Paracha, the owners had to start construction within six months and commission industry in two years.

He disclosed that in certain cases 60,000 square feet land had been given to one person which was illegal.

At one stage, the business community raised the issue of corruption, after which the plots were cancelled, but these were allotted to the same persons again, he maintained.

The KCCI president said there was a garments unit in the area which had been given to somebody on rent and nobody knew where the income was going.

He said the deputy director industrial estate was responsible for all the impediments to convert the estate into a business hub.

He said the industrial estate had become a white elephant where the government had invested huge money but without any outcome.

He said a separate feeder had been established for the industrial zone with a huge cost.

He demanded that the government cancel all plot allotments where no industries had been started and auction them afresh.

Mr Paracha said the anti-corruption department should investigate the allotment issue, and the industrial department should pave the way for sale of plots to genuine industrialists on merit.

He said former provincial law minister Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi had approved Rs7.2 million for provision of water to the industrial estate in 2016, but to no avail.

He added that former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Engr Shaukatullah had promised to launch industrial estate in Darra Adamkhel in 2013, but the project could not see the light of the day.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018

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